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Safe Browsing

It is important to stay safe and secure when browsing the internet.

Protecting your personal and financial information is critical. To ensure your online experience is as secure as possible, it’s important to follow these best practices and continually educate yourself on the latest tools and resources available to safeguard your information.

Monitor your accounts

Frequently reviewing your paper and/or electronic account statements and registering for our alerts system ensures that you spot any incorrect or fraudulent transactions as soon as they occur. If your card has been skimmed (when the card’s magnetic stripe and PIN are fraudulently copied by embedded devices at ATMs or point-of-sale devices) or unauthorized transactions have been made, you will want to catch this as soon as possible. Every time you receive an account statement, verify you made all the transactions.

Don’t forget to log out

When you are finished with your banking session, always log out by clicking the “Log Out” button, as opposed to simply closing the browser window. To help protect your information, your online banking session will end automatically if there has been no activity for 20 minutes or if your visit lasts longer than 60 minutes. If your session has timed out, no further transactions can be made until you log in again. This time-out feature helps protect your accounts from unauthorized access if your PC is left unattended and you have forgotten to log out.

Avoid public wi-fi

Although convenient, think twice about logging into your online banking on public computers or public wi-fi. Criminals can easily compromise public networks to steal your personal information. Avoid accessing online banking through a shared network as well if possible, i.e. library or café networks, and if absolutely necessary, only connect to password-protected networks.

Update your operating system

Your computer’s operating system needs to be up to date in order to defend itself from viruses and malicious software (malware). If one part of your operating system develops a virus, it leaves holes in your computer’s security defences and compromises the safety of the information contained in your computer.

Keeping your software current is one of the most important ways to stay safe online because it is much harder for viruses to infect an updated operating system and software. Hackers are targeting operating systems with new viruses all the time and software companies combat these efforts with security patches. You should always download the latest security patch as soon as it becomes available.

Your operating system lets you know when updates are available by notifying you there are new security features to download. You can also upgrade your operating system to the latest version available from the manufacturer; however, you should ensure your computer has sufficient hardware capacity to support an upgrade.

Remember to back up your data. To fully eliminate a virus that has infected your machine, the re-installation of your operating system may be required. Protect yourself against the permanent loss of important data by frequently backing up your files on an external hard drive so you’ll have the data should you ever have a problem with your operating system.

Install anti-virus software

Anti-virus software is designed to protect your information, money and privacy. Such software detects viruses and cleans your computer so that harmful viruses do not spread. Set up your anti-virus to run frequent scans and update the software as soon as it is required. Ensure you have real-time scanning of every email and every file you download.

Install browser updates

Web browsers are the gateways to the internet. Similar to having an up-to-date operating system, upgraded browsers provide more features, stability and security. Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome or something else, stay safe online by using the latest version available.

The latest versions of web browsers have security features that can identify and block harmful and fake websites and pop-ups, and warn you if a site is flagged as unsafe. Some browsers also have a ‘Private Browsing’ feature, which conceals your browsing history from others.

Check your firewall

A firewall protects your computer and home network from harmful websites and hackers. It sits between your computer and the internet, scanning information that is being transmitted. It allows for safe browsing, while blocking unauthorized intrusions. Even though you may think you have no information of value on your computer, firewalls also stop your computer from being used by hackers to send malicious software to other computers.

Most computers now come with a firewall as part of the standard operating system. However, you can get the maximum protection for your computer by installing additional firewalls and ensuring they are kept up to date.

Verify your connection is secure

Internet encryption protects your information while it is in transit between your computer and our systems. It ensures that data cannot be read or altered because the information is scrambled. Our online banking website uses a 128-bit SSL, encrypting both request and response transactions through a secure connection. To establish a secure connection, verify that the prefix of our website address in your browser reads ‘https’ (and not simply ‘http’).

Clear your cache

When you spend time on the internet, your browser stores information, such as the websites you visit, the images and files you view, and your personal information, including passwords and login details. This data is held on your computer’s hard drive and is known as ‘cache.’ Even though you may have logged out and closed your browser, this information may remain accessible. You can protect your data by clearing your browsing history regularly. This can be done in a few easy steps:

Internet Explorer users
Click on the ‘Tools’ tab (or use the ‘Ctrl-Shift-Delete’ shortcut)
1. Select ‘Delete Browsing History’
2. Choose the options you wish to erase and click ‘Delete’

Safari users
Click on the ‘History’ tab
1. Select ‘Show all History’
2. Choose the period you wish to erase and click ‘Clear History’

Chrome users
In the top-right corner of Chrome, click the Chrome menu
1. Select ‘More tools’ > ‘Clear browsing data’
2. In the dialog that appears, select the checkboxes for the types of information that you want to remove
3. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Select beginning of time to delete everything
4. Click ‘Clear browsing data’

Don’t trust private browsing mode

Some web browsers have a feature that allows you to browse the internet without the browser storing information, such as the sites you visit, the images you see, and the videos you watch. This feature is sometimes used by people who share the same computer. Private browsing is a temporary option and must be selected in order for it to be activated. Private browsing, however, does not give you immunity to spyware or make you anonymous. It is still possible for your internet service provider, employer, or the websites you visit to track your online activity.

Protect your smartphone

Smartphones let you surf, shop or bank wherever you are. Make sure your information stays secure while you’re on the move by following these smartphone-safe browsing tips:

  • Activate your phone’s password feature, which locks the screen and prevents anyone but you from accessing your phone. Set up the password feature on your phone with a code that only you know.
  • Don’t connect to unknown networks through Wi-Fi hotspots to make financial transactions.
  • Beware of smishing – that’s phishing on phones through text messages. Never download media or images, or click on text-message links that come from unrecognizable people or phone numbers. Never provide personal details or any account details using any form of electronic messaging because this is not a secure form of communication. If you are unsure, please contact us.
  • Download apps exclusively from the official source for your smartphone’s platform, such as the Android, Apple or BlackBerry stores.
  • Install anti-virus software for your smartphone when available and update it frequently.
  • Install location-finding applications, which work with your phone’s built in GPS. These applications allow you to locate and/or remotely erase (or “wipe”) data in your phone if it is lost or stolen.
  • Update your smartphone’s operating system as soon as newer versions are available.

Be vigilant when shopping online

Online shopping is the epitome of convenience. There are no lines and no crowds, but it can also be a haven for fraudsters. Consider the following tips when using your credit cards online to ensure your information stays secure:

  • Make sure you are shopping at a trusted retailer when you enter your credit card details online.
  • Provide retailers with the necessary details to complete the transaction only. These include your credit card number, expiry date, the security code on the back of the credit card, and the card’s billing address. Never provide your social insurance number, account details or your mother’s maiden name.
  • For shopping sites that require you to register with a username and password, we recommend you do not use your online banking personal access code (PAC).
  • Use your credit cards only on e-commerce websites that use secure browsing technology on the screens where you enter your card information. Ensure the web address begins with ‘https’ (as opposed to ‘http’) and has a closed padlock icon on the screen.
  • Ensure that smaller retailers requesting credit card details have reputable contact details, a physical address, and you feel comfortable with providing them your card information.
  • Never give your account or credit card details to anyone on eBay or Craigslist.

Go paperless

You may prefer to eliminate paper statements altogether, avoiding any possibility of mail theft. Eliminate paper documents, go electronic and be secure while doing it. Our e-statements are a digital archive of your monthly banking activity than can be downloaded as a PDF from our secure online banking site.