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We take the security of your personal information seriously. You also can take steps to protect yourself.

Cybersecurity Awareness: Top Ten Tips to Keep You and Your Operation Safe

Protecting your personal information is a priority at Frontier Farm Credit. This includes sharing tips and educational resources that will keep all of us safer online.

laptop with lock Keep your operating systems up to date.

Shield with checkmark Use an antivirus program.

Person on headset Do not give out personal information over the phone or in e-mail.

paddlelock Use a strong and unique password for each account.

window with link Be suspicious of unknown links sent through e-mail or text message.

person with shield Verify authenticity of requests from companies or individuals by contacting them directly.

download to hard drive Back up your data using external hard drives/flash drives or a cloud service.

Phone with wifi Be careful when connecting to public WiFi on mobile devices.

Email with lock Don’t open or download unknown attachments in e-mail.

social network Be careful about what information you share online and via social networks.

mobile security image

Protecting Your Mobile Security

The use of smartphones, tablets and laptops makes it easier than ever to stay connected and work on the go. However, mobile devices also come with their own security risks.

Up to 91% of cybercrime starts with an e-mail and users are three times more likely to respond to a phishing attack on a mobile device, according to a study by IBM (IBM Security).

Warning Signs

  • Keep an eye on your data usage. Data usage can spike if there is a virus running in the background.
  • An infection on your mobile device may cause it to run more slowly or your battery may drain more quickly than usual.
  • Have you noticed more pop-ups and intrusive ads? Be careful when downloading apps. Some are designed to introduce spyware or viruses. Do your homework before choosing and downloading an app. Your chances of downloading a malicious app are far lower when using official app stores.

Tips

  • Be careful when using public WiFi. Do not access sensitive information, such as your bank account, or send e-mails with personal information, including Social Security numbers, account numbers or passwords.
  • Install updates to your operating system as soon as they are available. Better yet, allow for automatic updates to ensure you’re protected.
  • Consider installing mobile security software for your device as an extra layer of protection.
  • Do not use public or free email services or cloud storage systems to retain sensitive emails/files indefinitely. They can become a target for compromise or unintended disclosures.

When you don’t have a system in place to manage your important accounts, you leave yourself and your business exposed to outside threats.


What to do if your security is breached

Contact your financial partners immediately. This increases the chances of recovering funds.

Change passwords and security questions/answers on all accounts that use the compromised password. Ensure the security questions are unique to you and known only by you or, when necessary, a few trusted individuals. Learn more about creating strong passwords to protect your online accounts.

Submit a police report. Many local authorities now have a cybercrime team that can investigate locally, as well as share information with the FBI and/or Homeland Security.

Contact your cybersecurity insurance carrier if you have one.

password security image

Password Practices Have Power to Protect

Passwords are the first line of defense for most online accounts. However, creating and remembering complex passwords for dozens of accounts is a major challenge. Follow these tips to help manage your passwords, strengthen your online security, and protect your personal and business information online.

Length is Strength

As your password grows in length, it becomes harder for hackers to crack. Each additional letter, number or symbol, increases the possible combinations exponentially. When possible, use a passphrase composed of a short sentence or series of random words, such as:

  • I take my coffee break at 3:30 pm
  • Mosquito-daze-battery-February

These types of passwords are harder for computers to guess and often easier for humans to remember. Varying your capitalization, substituting symbols for letters, and incorporating numbers into your phrase are all great ways to strengthen your passphrase.

Nothing Personal

Try to avoid incorporating personal information into your passwords. Important dates like birthdays and anniversaries, home towns, high schools and names of relatives can all be discovered by hackers. A good rule for selecting passwords: If something about you can be discovered on social media, don’t include it.

Don’t Recycle

Reusing passwords across different accounts is a major security risk. If hackers gain access to one account, they wil try to use the same credentials to access your other  accounts. Don’t make it easier for hackers; make each password unique.

Keep it Manageable

A password manager is a great way to keep track of all your accounts and passwords. Password managers are computer applications that securely store passwords in an encrypted vault. Now you only have one password to remember — the password to your password manager. Popular password managers include:

Setting up strong passwords across all your accounts is an important step toward limiting your exposure to risk online. When you don’t have a system in place to manage your important accounts, you leave yourself and your business exposed to outside threats.


Frontier Farm Credit offer AgriPoint® and mobile apps with your convenience and security in mind. Customers who create and securely store strong passwords/pass phrases are adding additional layers of protection. But Kris Plambeck, our business solutions manager, advises customers to follow a few additional Dos and Don’ts.

Do’s and Don’ts

Keyboard wih Password Button

DO…

  • Change passwords frequently
  • Use screen lock on mobile devices
  • Use biometrics (fingerprints, facial ID) to gain access to devices and accounts

DON’T…

  • Create passwords to AgriPoint or our mobile apps using Social Security/tax identification numbers; familiar dates, such as birthdates and anniversaries; yours or your children’s name
  • Repeat the same username or password across apps
  • Save your username or password in a spreadsheet on your mobile phone, laptop, etc.
  • Share your usernames or passwords with others
cyber security

Rural Locations Provide No Defense Against Phone, Internet Hackers

You live and do business in a rural area in the middle of America, far from big cities and their daily traffic jams. So that means your farm or ranch is immune from hackers who have disrupted businesses and governments around the world by taking advantage of weaknesses in Internet or smart phone security, right?

“Farmers and ranchers should be equally as concerned about computer and phone system hacking as any other business enterprise.”
– Rex Earl, chief security officer for Frontier Farm Credit

“The internet has no boundaries. To an attacker, you’re just an IP address. They probe systems for vulnerabilities. If they find a crack, they exploit them, and they do it at the speed of light,” Earl says.

The new generation of smart phones has become a target for enterprising hackers, and every company, large or small, should take care to guard against the loss of sensitive information. Earl advises companies to insist that if such phones are used for business purposes, they need to be encrypted and capable of being wiped clean remotely if they are lost or stolen.

The Weak Link

“Fifteen years ago I’d have said that defending your enterprise was all about technology, building firewalls and doing everything you could to secure your system,” Earl says. “But we’ve learned that the most vulnerable part of any business is the human element.”

Hackers targeting a company will try to find a weak link somewhere in the system. One approach, Earl says, is for hackers to call into a company posing as a vendor.

“They’ll ask an employee to transfer funds to an outside account, usually in another country,” he explains. “They have account numbers and just enough other information to make them sound legitimate. It’s important for the business to have a list of questions that enables family members and employees to determine without a doubt that the caller is not attempting fraud.”

Create a Security Culture

The key to upgrading internal security is to create what Earl calls a “security culture.” Here are three suggestions for producers to consider:

  • The question is not if you can get hacked, but more likely when it’s going to happen. No matter where your business is located, you’re not immune to these attacks.
  • Practice defense in depth. Raise security awareness among family members and employees. Be sure your technology, both hardware and software, is up to date and is being actively managed. Insist that your vendors have secure systems as well. And be looking down the road to keep an eye out for the next incursion.
  • Don’t be the easiest target. That’s what hackers are looking for. If you are well prepared, they’ll skip you and look another place.

What to do if your security is breached

Contact your financial partners immediately. This increases the chances of recovering funds.

Change passwords and security questions/answers on all accounts that use the compromised password. Ensure the security questions are unique to you and known only by you or, when necessary, a few trusted individuals. Learn more about creating strong passwords to protect your online accounts.

Submit a police report. Many local authorities now have a cybercrime team that can investigate locally, as well as share information with the FBI and/or Homeland Security.

Contact your cybersecurity insurance carrier if you have one.