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Security in a Digital Age

As we store more and more of our personal and financial information online, it’s vital that we prioritize cyber security and learn how to protect ourselves from the cyber threats that exist in a digital world.

We’ve compiled some simple steps that you can take to secure your online accounts and devices, and we’ve provided links to additional trusted resources to help you stay cyber-safe.
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Secure Your Accounts


Using unique and complex passphrases and passwords for each account and device is one of the best ways to keep your personal information safe.

When possible, create a passphrase: a combination of four or more random words, and a minimum of 15 characters

For traditional passwords:

  • Use at least twelve characters.

  • Use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters and at least one number.

  • Include at least one character that isn't a letter or number, like: !, # or $.

  • Use a series of letters that only make sense to you, like the first letters of each word in a sentence.

Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication requires you to use more than one authentication factor to log in to a device or an account. It adds an extra step to the login process and an extra layer of security, that way, if a cyber criminal ever gets your password, there’s another defence in place to stop them.

The most common form of multi-factor authentication is pairing your log in credentials, (your username and password) with another authentication factor. In many cases, this is 2-step verification – a text message sent to your phone or an email sent to your inbox. Other authentication factors include tokens, smartcards, or biometrics like a fingerprint or face ID.

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Secure Your Devices

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Laptops and Computers
Security Software
Installing anti-virus and anti-spyware protection is one of the first things you should do with a new computer. Set up the software scans your computer at least once a week.

System Updates
Keeping your software and operating system updated is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your computer. Always accept updates when your computer prompts you and turn automatic updates on wherever they’re available.

Web Browsers
Clear your cache and your browsing history when you're finished browsing so that you don't leave a record on your computer of any login IDs, passwords, banking information or other sensitive data. Log out of your accounts when you are done.

When you download files off the internet, use caution and ensure that you are getting them from a trusted source. Always use your anti-virus software to scan files you download before you open them and immediately delete anything flagged as dangerous.
Man using a smartphone
Mobile Devices
Device Updates
Mobile operating system updates can include anything from a completely new version, to a patch or fix to strengthen security, remove bugs, or improve functionality. Always update your device when prompted or turn on automatic updates if available.

Bluetooth technology links nearby devices, like wireless headphones, printers, and keyboards, to your mobile device or computer. And since your devices carry sensitive data, you'll want to take extra care when pairing anything through Bluetooth. Remember to always turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it so that hackers cannot detect your device and attempt to pair with it.

Text Messages
Texts are a convenient way to keep in touch with friends, but they can also make you vulnerable to malware, privacy breaches, and other criminal activities. Take a few precautions when texting:
  • Don't use text messages to send personal or sensitive information.
  • Never open attachments from unknown or untrusted sources.
  • Never click the links or call phone numbers in suspicious messages — even if they say they’re from your bank or mobile provider.

Public Wi-Fi
Public and unsecured private Wi-Fi networks can be a perfect opportunity for hackers to access your mobile device. If you have to use public Wi-Fi, make sure it’s a network you know and trust, and never use it to do banking or to access sensitive information.

Lock Your Device
Using a lock screen password and enabling biometric security features, like fingerprint or face ID can prevent criminals from accessing anything stored on your device if you lose it. Enable auto-lock so it always locks after a short period of time.
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Secure Online Banking

Keeping your online banking activities secure is our top priority. There are several layers of protection built into our online banking and mobile app.

Strong Password Requirements

Using a unique, complex password helps to keep access to your online banking secure. When choosing a Personal Access Code (PAC) it must be a minimum of 8 characters including upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Your PAC should be unique to your SCU online banking. Using the same password across different platforms (banking, credit card, social media) is a security risk. Once a criminal has a known password of a victim they will try to access other systems using the same password.

Enhanced Security with 2-Step Verification

2-Step Verification is an extra layer of security in online banking and the mobile app. When unusual activity is detected during login, you will be sent a one-time verification code to either your registered email address, by text to your mobile number, or by voice call to your phone number to complete the login process. You will be automatically prompted to set up 2-Step Verification when enrolling in online banking access.

Monitor Your Account with Direct Alerts

Receive text or email notifications when activity occurs on your account through online or mobile banking. Choose the alerts that you want to receive, including alerts for login attempts, password changes, the addition of new e-transfer recipients or new online bill payments payees, and more. Identify and report potentially fraudulent activity as soon as it happens.

In Online Banking:

  1. Login to online banking.
  2. Select Messages and Alerts from the menu on the left.
  3. Select Manage Alerts or Get Started Today.
  4. Turn on notifications for the alerts you would like to receive and set up your email or cell phone number for text alerts.
In Mobile App:

  1. Login to the mobile app.
  2. From the home screen, swipe left twice then select the Alerts icon.
  3. Select Manage Alerts.
  4. Turn on notifications for the alerts you would like to receive and set up your email or cell phone number for text alerts.

Additional Resources

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Links to Additional Information

Get Cyber Safe website

Cyber Safe Tip Sheet (PDF)