In a time when cyber scams and fraud make the news on almost a daily basis, protecting yourself is more important than ever — it's a key part of your financial fitness.

While financial institutions are doing a lot of work behind the scenes to keep your money safe and secure, your personal habits can affect how vulnerable you might be.

Here are some things you can do to maximize your personal cyber security.

Strong password practices

It might not be easy or convenient, but strong passwords and diligent processes to keep them strong are your best line of defense against cyber criminals.

  • Always use strong and secure passwords that aren't easy to guess.
  • Increase your password strength by using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and using passphrases.
  • Use unique passwords for each login and website.
  • Keep your online banking information, PIN and passwords to yourself.
  • Manually type your passwords when you're signing in instead of relying on auto-filling tools (in case someone gains access to your device).

Be careful on public networks

Public Wi-Fi networks definitely make internet more accessible, but because they are open networks, they're not very secure.

  • Consider everything on a public Wi-Fi network as public.
  • Only make financial transactions on private and trusted Wi-Fi networks.
Close up of a modern, flat keyboard and two hands typing. The light is soft and hazy. There is a graphic overlay on top of the hands showing a badge with a lock and a network of connections behind it, representing security.

Keep your computer clean and up-to-date

Having the latest security software and operating systems installed on your computers and devices is foundational to your cyber security.

  • Enable and install all software updates and patches — these updates remove vulnerabilities and keep your identity and information safe.
  • Use the most current anti-virus and anti-malware protection.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the internet with security software.

Learn more

The Canadian Credit Union Association has videos, including the one below with more tips on strengthening your personal cyber security.