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Cybersecurity: What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

According to Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the President of the United States and Congress declared October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Since 2004, the CISA has spread awareness to help individuals protect themselves online as threats to technology and confidential data become more commonplace.

As more and more people conduct their banking business online or on mobile devices, cybercrime has become a more significant threat. For many banks, cybersecurity is now a top priority, with 75% of organizations pursuing security vendor consolidation in 2022, up from 29% in 2020, according to research firm Gartner.

Even though cybercrime is a growing issue, there is a lot you can do to prevent yourself from becoming the next victim. You are your best cybercrime countermeasure. Below is some cyber security info on the most common security threats to your bank accounts, tips on spotting them, and actions you can take to protect your privacy and bank safely online.



Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a cybercrime that targets people by emails to persuade them to provide sensitive information, click on a malicious link or open an infected attachment. The email usually appears to come from a reputable company. It tries to bait you into revealing sensitive information, such as your banking password, Social Security number, phone number, or credit card number.

How to spot a phishing email: If you think you’re under a phishing attack, look carefully at the email address. There might be an extra letter or number in the address, or it might come from a suspicious address you have never seen before. There might also be spelling mistakes in the phishing email itself. Another giveaway is that it might falsely claim that you have an account at a bank with which you do not have a relationship.

As a general practice, never click on any links in a suspicious email. Remember, Cathay Bank will never ask for your personal information, such as passwords, in an email. If you are ever in doubt, contact your bank immediately.



Smishing is a type of cyberattack similar to phishing but done over SMS/text or other messaging applications such as WhatsApp or WeChat. This type of text message scam usually involves a message that appears to come from a reputable company and tries to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.

How to stop SMiShing: Just as with phishing, look carefully at the phone number or shortcode. If it does not look familiar, do not open it, do not click on any links in the message, and do not respond with any personal information. Cathay Bank will never ask you for passwords or other personal information over SMS text or messaging apps. If you are ever in doubt, contact your bank immediately.



Malware generally takes the form of a computer virus or other malicious software that attacks your computer, often to steal information such as bank account numbers or passwords. Part of the difficulty with malware is that it stays undetected on your device until the damage is already done.

How to prevent malware: Be wary of accessing unknown websites or links, and do not click on suspicious ads or pop-up quizzes. Exercise caution if you are using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network or public computers, such as those in a public library or cafe. Also, remember to update your computer’s antivirus software regularly or enable “auto-update” if available.


Account Takeover Fraud

This occurs when someone else, a criminal, has amassed enough of your personal information to take control of your bank accounts. This can happen after a phishing attack. It can also occur if your account numbers are found in the trash or stolen from your wallet.

How to prevent account takeover: Setting up transaction alerts via email or SMS text can alert you to real-time suspicious or unauthorized transactions. If you see anything questionable, report it to your bank immediately. You can also opt for online or paperless statements, a secure way to access your bank information. When you receive bank statements through traditional mail, you run the risk of someone intercepting your mail and stealing personal information from your bank statements.

Taking simple steps to protect yourself from cybercrime can go a long way. Choose passwords that are hard to guess but easy for you to remember. For instance, “Ilovedogsandthebeach18” is harder to crack than “password123.” Choose a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Do not use the same password on different sites or mobile apps. These measures will help make your password more secure.

Another good practice is to check your credit report regularly. By law, you can request one free credit report each year from the three major credit monitoring agencies (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion). However, the agencies are permitted by law to charge you a fee if you also request your credit score. Checking your credit report can alert you to identity theft or any errors that could be affecting your credit rating.


October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cathay Bank is committed to providing a safe and secure online banking environment for our clients, not just in October, but every day of the year. Please visit our Security Information Center here to learn more about cybersecurity, identity theft, fraud alerts, online banking security tips, and mobile banking security tips.


This article does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Although the information contained herein is intended to be accurate, Cathay Bank does not assume liability for loss or damage due to reliance on such information.

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