- Make sure you have up-to-date and active security software that includes:
- FIREWALL PROTECTION. A firewall is basically a software program or piece of hardware that helps to screen out malware and hackers that try to reach you through the Internet while you are on it.
- ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAMS AND OTHER ANTI-MALWARE PROGRAMS OR PROTECTION. Don’t assume an anti-virus program offers protection against all kinds of malware. Viruses are one type of malware. Other types, including the information-stealing malware known as spyware, may not be covered by an anti-virus program. Investigate security software programs and make sure yours is comprehensive.
- Update, update, update! Keeping your operating systems, security software programs, and browsers current can help secure your identity. Updates provide new patches for any security weaknesses.
- Evaluated your browser’s privacy settings, plus think about limiting or disabling cookies-those tiny bits of data used by Web servers to identify users. Some cookies are useful, but others can be used maliciously and collect information about you.
- Explore security options for all Internet-connected devices, including gaming systems.
- Make sure mobile devices aren’t set to automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi, as this can expose you to insecure networks.
- When not in use, disable mobile device features that connect you to other devices.
- Configure mobile phones or tablets to lock automatically after 5 minutes or less of non-use.
- Laptops are popular targets of identity thieves. Don’t store personal information on yours and consider using a laptop lock.
- Back up your data regularly. If your computer or device is compromised or stolen you’ll still have access to important files.
- If you use an at-home wireless network, take steps to secure it. Otherwise, unauthorized users may be able to access your personal information, see what you’re transmitting, or download malware.
- Make sure your wireless router’s encryption feature is turned on.
- If your wireless router comes with a built-in firewall feature (most do), turn that on, too.
- Change the default name the manufacturer gave the router to one only you would know.
- Routers also come with a default password. Change it to one that’s hard to crack.
- Turn off your Wi-Fi network when you’re not using it for an extended period of time.
More Ways to be Cyber Secure
- Create strong passwords that are at least 10-12 characters long and include a combination of capital and lowercase letters, digits, and special characters. Don’t make them predictable. Change them frequently.
- Don’t use the same password repeatedly. If identity-stealing hackers get it from one account, they will try it on many.
- Don’t open emails from unknown senders.
- Never email financial information or your Social Security number.
- Download software or email attachments only from sources you know are trustworthy.
- Read all disclosure information before downloading software, including apps.
- Always type authenticated Web addresses directly into your browser bar instead of clicking on links.
- Limit what you share on social networking sites. Consider increasing your privacy settings.
- Don’t stay signed into accounts. When you are finished, log off and close your browser.
- Close all pop-up windows by clicking on the X in the title bar. Consider using a pop-up blocker.
- Don’t put unknown flash drives into your computer.
- Before disposing of a computer, mobile device, or any Internet-connected item, completely and permanently remove all personal information from it.