- Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
- Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
- Plug & scan:USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
- Machine access: Don’t leave your computer or phone unlocked if you’re not using it, especially in a public area. Everything you use to access personal data (like bank accounts and social media) should be password protected.
- Installing Software: Don’t install software you don’t know is 100% safe. Unless you know something is completely safe, as tempting or as promising as it might seem, don’t download or install it.
- Remote Control: Hackers often call pretending to be from a real company in order to gain access to your computer. If you weren’t expecting support or aren’t familiar with the company do not give them access.
Protecting Personal Information
- Make your password secure: Having a strong password can make all the difference in keeping you safe. A strong password is between 8 and 20 characters, contains upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. It’s also important to us different passwords for your accounts, and never share them with anyone.
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
- Get two steps ahead:Turn on two-step authentication – also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication – on accounts where available. Two-factor authentication can use anything from a text message to your phone to a token to a biometric like your fingerprint to provide enhanced account security.
- When in doubt, throw it out: Links in emails, social media posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.
- Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
- Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.
- Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true or ask for personal information.