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Connecting to the Internet is most likely a natural part of both your work and personal lives today. In fact, it’s so natural, you might not even give it a second thought. You connect to information, services, and entertainment daily via your computer, your smartphone or tablet, and your business laptop. A host of internet sites have your personal information--and that makes performing activities like shopping, social and professional networking, doing research, and sharing information easy and convenient. The beauty of online connectivity is that you can work, play, and access data online from almost anywhere, at any time.

This “always on” connectivity, however, comes with a price. Cyberattacks are on the rise. According to the Federal Communications Commission, criminals from almost 200 countries are online plotting attacks, some of them against governments and large corporations, and some of them against individuals like you. Cybercrime is recognized by the U.S. government and by security experts as the biggest threat facing Americans today. Your financial information, your private data, and  your workplace are all at risk.

You might think you can simply lean on the experts--the IT professionals, security experts, and CIOs who make sure networks are secure and data is protected. But, the fact is, most data breaches occur not because the right protections weren’t in place or because they failed. The majority of cybercrime--malware and virus infection, hacking and data breaches,  denial of service attacks and compromised or lost data--are all the result of simple human error.

Fortunately, being aware of the risks, taking the right precautions, and being smart and safe when connected to the Internet can help you stay safe in the face of rising cybercrime attacks. Read on to learn what you can do to protect yourself.

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First Commonwealth Bank and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.