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Mission Bank

Computer and Mobile Device Security

Remember, Mission Bank will never ask for personal information via email or text messaging.

Computer Security

Scammers, hackers, and identity thieves are looking to steal your personal information - and your money. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself, like keeping your computer software up-to-date and giving out your personal information only when you have a good reason.

Use Security Software That Updates Automatically

The bad guys constantly develop new ways to attack your computer, so your security software must be up-to-date to protect against the latest threats. Most security software can update automatically; set yours to do so. You can find free security software from well-known companies. Also, set your operating system and web browser to update automatically.

If you let your operating system, web browser, or security software get out-of-date, criminals could sneak their bad programs - malware - onto your computer and use it to secretly break into other computers, send spam, or spy on your online activities. There are steps you can take to detect and get rid of malware.

Don't buy security software in response to unexpected pop-up messages or emails, especially messages that claim to have scanned your computer and found malware. Scammers send messages like these to try to get you to buy worthless software, or worse, to “break and enter” your computer.

Treat Your Personal Information Like Cash

Don't hand it out to just anyone. Your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers can be used to steal your money or open new accounts in your name. So every time you are asked for your personal information - whether in a web form, an email, a text, or a phone message - think about whether you can really trust the request. In an effort to steal your information, scammers will do everything they can to appear trustworthy. Learn more about scammers who phish for your personal information.

Check Out Companies to Find out Who You're Really Dealing With

When you're online, a little research can save you a lot of money. If you see an ad or an offer that looks good to you, take a moment to check out the company behind it. Type the company or product name into your favorite search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” If you find bad reviews, you'll have to decide if the offer is worth the risk. If you can't find contact information for the company, take your business elsewhere.

Don't assume that an ad you see on a reputable site is trustworthy. The fact that a site features an ad for another site doesn't mean that it endorses the advertised site, or is even familiar with it.

Give Personal Information Over Encrypted Websites Only

If you're shopping or banking online, stick to sites that use encryption to protect your information as it travels from your computer to their server. To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the beginning of the web address (the “s” is for secure).

Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session isn't encrypted, the entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https on every page of the site you're on, not just where you sign in.

Protect Your Passwords

Here are a few principles for creating strong passwords and keeping them safe:

  • The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack.  Use at least 10 characters; 12 is ideal for most users.
  • Mix letters, numbers, and special characters.  Try to be unpredictable - don't use your name, birthdate, or common words.
  • Don't use the same password for many accounts.  If it's stolen from you - or from one of the companies with which you do business - it can be used to take over all your accounts.
  • Don't share passwords on the phone, in texts or by email.  Legitimate companies will not send you messages asking for your password.  If you get such a message, it's probably a scam.
  • Keep your passwords in a secure place, out of plain sight.
Back Up Your Files

No system is completely secure. Copy important files onto a removable disc or an external hard drive, and store it in a safe place. If your computer is compromised, you'll still have access to your files.

Mobile Devices

That smartphone in your pocket – or your tablet or laptop – contains significant information about you and your friends and family – contact numbers, photos, location and more. Your mobile devices need to be protected. Take the following security precautions and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you are on the go.

Keep a Clean Machine

Keep security software current on all devices that connect to the Internet. Having the most up-to‐date mobile security software, web browser, operating system and apps is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.

Delete when done. Many of us download apps for specific purposes, such as planning a vacation, and no longer need them afterwards, or we may have previously downloaded apps that are longer useful or interesting to us. It’s a good security practice to delete all apps you no longer use.

Protect Your Personal Information

Secure your devices by using strong passwords, passcodes or other features such as touch identification to lock your devices. Securing your device can help protect your information if your device is lost or stolen and keep prying eyes out. Enable phone wipe after 10 invalid login attempts.

Personal information is like money – value it, protect it. Information about you, such as the games you like to play, what you search for online and where you shop and live, has value ‒ just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.

Own your online presence. Use security and privacy settings on websites and apps to manage what is shared about you and who sees it.

Now you see me, now you don’t. Some stores and other locations look for devices with WiFi or Bluetooth turned on to track your movements while you are within range. Disable WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use.

Connect with Care

Get savvy about WiFi hotspots. Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected to them. Limit what you do on public WiFi, and avoid logging in to key accounts like email and financial services. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal/mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection.

When in doubt, don’t respond. Fraudulent text messages, calls and voicemails are on the rise. Just as with email, mobile requests for personal data or immediate action are almost always scams.

See more at StaySafeOnline.org or visit StopThinkConnect.org for tips about how to stay safe online.