Protect Your Computer and Mobile Devices

Security threats often evolve just as quickly as technology advances. Use the tips below to help you stay safe online, at home and away

Make User Ids and Passwords as Secure as Possible

Create strong and unique usernames and passwords. Update passwords regularly. Avoid using a password or a variation of a password that you already use on another website. Also, avoid using any variation of your name, or names of family members or pets, as these can sometimes be found on social media. Focus on length and complexity.

Tips for Safe Computer Use

Use a Personal Firewall
Many internet service providers offer this feature. A personal firewall protects your home computer against unauthorized access. It is designed to protect only the computer on which it is installed. It protects you by controlling the traffic that comes in and goes out from your computer. It watches for attempts to access your system and blocks communications to and from sources you don't permit.

Beware of Malware
Malware is malicious software installed on your computer which has a harmful intent that can, for example, capture your login passwords and other personal data. Drive-by downloads may happen when visiting a malicious or vulnerable website, viewing an e-mail message or by clicking on a deceptive pop-up window. Examples of malware include software such as spyware, adware, viruses, etc. The best way to protect yourself from malware is to exercise caution before installing programs on your computer or opening email attachments. Here are some precautions that are important to take:

  • Only install applications and software from well-known companies you trust.
  • Make sure your computer is cleansed from viruses/spyware and has up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed.
  • Keep your operating system and browser up-to-date with the latest security updates and patches.

Install Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Malware Detection Software
The best defense against computer attacks is preventative software. You will need to update the software regularly to guard against new risks, so download updates from your provider as soon as they're available. Or better yet, set the software to update automatically.

Use a Pop-Up Blocker
Set your browser preferences to block pop-ups — aside from being annoying, these pop-upscan contain inappropriate content or have malicious intentions.

Go Directly There
The best way to get to any site is to type its address (URL) into your browser and then bookmark it.

Tips for Public Network or Computer Use

Only Use Wireless Networks you Trust
Networks in internet cafés, hotels, and libraries are usually not secure and are easy to tamper with. Even if they provide you with a password, that does not guarantee a secure connection. You should avoid using any public computers for online banking.

Avoid Using a Public or Shared Computer for Personal Transactions
Anyone who uses the computer after you and visits the same websites may be able to sign on to your accounts. To address this issue, after you sign off, select the option to "Remove a user", if that option is available. Also, make sure to clear the internet history and any cookies stored.

Fraud-Prevention Resources

Find resources to help if you feel as though your identity or security has been compromised.

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