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Breaches and the identity theft that flows from them have become the third and fourth certainties in life. Phishing, spear phishing, pharming (the creation of clone sites to gather information from unsuspecting consumers) and persistent attacks on financial services sites have made navigating the online world far more treacherous than ever before. Credit unions are in an excellent position to help their members tiptoe through this cyber minefield.

Here are 10 tips credit unions, their employees and members can use to stay safe when banking online or on a mobile device.

1. Use strong passwords and don’t share them.

It doesn’t take long for hackers to decipher passwords that are extremely short or overly obvious (a member’s birthday or anniversary, for example). Rather than relying on a birth date or phone number as a password (or PASSWORD as a password), members should be encouraged to use difficult or not-easily-guessed passwords. Passwords should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of letters, numbers, special characters, punctuation and upper and lowercase. They should never be shared among financial, social networking and email sites. In addition, financial institutions should employ multifactor authentication for added security.

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