Worried about your risk? You are not alone
Nearly three quarters of Americans have fallen victim to some type of cyber crime.1 In the past year, 4 in 10 people received a notice that their personal information had been compromised, had an account hacked and/or had a password stolen. Perhaps that’s why 8 in 10 people say they are worried about their online security.2
Fortunately, it can be easy to reduce your risk.
Passwords pose problems
Almost every login requires a password: bank accounts, shopping accounts, debit card PINs, smartphones, websites, email access, etc. Most people have more passwords than they can keep track of, so they tend to choose simple, easy-to-remember ones; however, this makes it easy for cyber thieves as well.
It doesn't take long for a hacker's computer to guess a password3
Making your password easier for you could also make it easier for hackers
If you think you’ve been hacked, change your usernames and passwords for all sites and accounts you use, especially sites which may contain financial and personal data. Contact your financial institutions to look for fraudulent activity. Many companies, including Nationwide, can monitor and set up alerts for your account activity.
Protect your retirement account by creating your own online access first.
You might think that the best way to not get hacked would be to not create an online account in the first place. But hackers can be clever, especially if the payoff could be access to your money or personal information. Using information they can gather elsewhere, they attempt to create online accounts. Your best defense is to go on offense.
- Go to the home page
- Select "Login Help & Sign Up"
- Toggle “Sign Up for an Online Account”
In just minutes, you will establish a User Profile that will help reinforce the virtual firewall we’ve built to keep hackers out. To strengthen safeguards around all of the online accounts you have, consider these tips.
- Mix it up and string it out. Use lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and numbers, preferably 9 or more characters in length.
- Protect each account. Give strong but unique passwords to each account you own, even nonfinancial accounts.
- Protect every device. Strong passwords for web-enabled device, including your home router can make it the harder it is for cyber thieves to get in.
- Change passwords regularly. Consider doing so every 90 days.
- Vary usernames. Your username is your “first password.” Every time you create a new online account, give yourself a new username.
- Safely store usernames and passwords. Consider software or an app that creates and encrypts longer, stronger passwords, and stores them away from your device.
- Install a firewall. A firewall on your computer and router protects your machines from unauthorized intruders.
- Use updated anti-virus software and antispyware. Viruses can disable your computer, and spyware can steal your passwords and account numbers.
- Update software automatically. This will help ensure your system gets the latest updates as soon as they’re released.
- Use WPA2 when setting up your home Wi-Fi. “Wireless Protected Access 2,” or WPA2, is the safety technology that helps protect your wireless connection.
- Trust your gut instincts. If you get a popup window offering a system update, open your operating system messages application to see if the update is legitimate.
- Enable screen locking on your devices. Many devices offer security features which may allow you to remotely lock them or even erase all data if it is lost or stolen.
- Log out and close your browsing windows. Doing so reduces the possibility of unauthorized use of an already logged-on account.
- Download cautiously. Some free games and free downloads are really tricks to get you to download viruses or spyware.
- Consider the information you share on social media sites. Review the social media site’s privacy and security settings to control who can see your profile.
- Look for “https” in the web address. “Https” is generally more secure than “http.” Avoid financial transactions on “http” sites.
- Avoid using public wireless networks. Use caution if a public wireless network asks you for personal or credit card information. Consider whether your cell phone can serve as a wifi for your laptop or tablet.
- Avoid public computers. Thieves install keystroke tracking software on library or hotel lounge computers to steal usernames and passwords.
- Know your surroundings. Limit your use of financial apps when you’re where people can easily look over your shoulder and see your inputs or information.
- Consider professional assistance for managing your affairs. Financial and legal advisors are required to act in your best interest.
- Safeguard financial information. Even well-meaning family or friends can be tempted when money is easily accessible.
- Do not share account login information. Doing so gives away the keys to your account. If you must share it, change your password as soon as the assistance is no longer needed.
- Hang up on callers requesting account information. No reputable firm calls customers to ask for login information or test their systems by asking that money be transferred to them.
- Change your usernames and passwords for all sites and accounts. This is especially important for sites which may contain financial and personal data.
- Ask your financial institutions to look for fraudulent activity. Many companies, including Nationwide, can set up alerting and monitoring on your account activity.
How Nationwide defends your data
As cyber criminals become more sophisticated, so does our security strategy. We use a layered approach to our security processes and technology, which helps prevent fraud and protect our customers.
- If your username and password are entered from a device you normally don’t use to access your account, the user will be prompted to enter a code that is sent to either the mobile device or email on record. This extra-step process – called multi-factor authentication – adds protection beyond your password to significantly decrease the risk of a hacker accessing your information.
- In addition to multi-factor authentication, Nationwide employs multiple layers of firewalls — special software designed to block malicious users, viruses, malware and other potential security threats.
- We also use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), a standard security technology that encrypts information sent to and from our site. SSL ensures that all personal information — including retirement account data, social security numbers, and log-in credentials — remains confidential when sent between our website and your computer.
- Our security team performs daily monitoring of our computer systems, looking for security violations and unwanted intrusion. We conduct periodic IT audits of the computing environment to look for potential vulnerabilities. And we are regularly audited by third parties to ensure proper security measures are in place and working as expected.
- Nationwide provides ongoing training to all associates to keep sensitive data private and protected, and that training is enhanced as we learn more about cyber-crime techniques. In-depth, role-based training is given to associates in a unique position to ensure security and privacy. We comply with all data security laws and take reasonable steps to ensure our employees do as well.
- Tier 4 is the highest rating a data center can earn. Nationwide uses two centers to ensure data is available no matter when you want to access it, but also is safeguarded by the strongest security protocols available.
- We use state-of-the-art adaptive intrusion detection, ready to neutralize threats to keep your data protected.
- We’re detecting and responding to vulnerabilities and threats, defending your data 24/7/365.
1 4 Scary Hacking Statistics You Probably Didn’t Know About. (2016, April 16). Retrieved from https://stellarbluetechnologies.com/2016/08/4-scary-hacking-statistics-you-probably-didnt-know-about/
2 June 2015 Telesign Consumer Account Security Report: An International Study of Digital Security Concerns and Practices polled 2,000 consumers in the U.S. and the U.K.
3 The Problem with Passwords, Bloomberg Businessweek (January 2011)
4 Why Your Password is Hackerbait, Entrepreneur (January 2015)