Use these tips to keep your information safe
We live in a digital era. It seems that nearly everything we use in our lives is connected to the internet and has access to our personal information. Below are some steps and resources you can use to help make sure you are protecting yourself and your information from those that would try to steal and misuse your personal information.
There are many groups and individuals that work daily to develop new ways to attack your computer and mobile devices and you need security software that is up to the task of combating these new and emerging threats. Via Credit Union does not recommend any specific security software solution, but there are plenty of free and pay solutions available. Below are some of the most important features to look for when picking your Security Software:
- Updates automatically and provides updates at least daily
- Full computer/device scanning
- Ability to setup scheduled scans
- Real-time monitoring and protection
- Detects and removes viruses, spyware, rootkits, bots, trojans, keyloggers, and other types of malware
Do not purchase security software from any type of pop up message or email, especially those that claim to have scanned and discovered malware or other bad programs on your computer. These are fraudulent messages that use scare tactics (referred to as Scareware) to try and get you to buy their "product". These types of programs will often simply do nothing, but they can also give the criminal your credit card information and direct access to break into your computer and install their own malicious programs.
Protect your Personal Information
Your Social Security number, credit card numbers, account numbers can be used to allow a criminal to impersonate you and steal your money or open new accounts in your name. You should think carefully every time you enter your personal information online, give information to someone over the phone or provide information through email. You should be absolutely certain that you trust the company and website you are providing this information too. Look closely at all aspects of the site and the website address you are on. There is malware out there that can perform man-in-the-middle attacks on what appears to be a legitimate website. If you ever feel nervous about entering data on a website (or App on your mobile device), you should stop and do more research to find out if what is being asked of you is legitimate or not.
Remember to always check to make sure you are on a secure site that uses encryption to protect any information you are providing. No matter what internet browser you are using, secure sites will always start with https. This means that the site is secure and encrypted.
Protect your Passwords
Avoid writing passwords down, but if you do write down your passwords, you should keep them in a secure, locked place that is out of plain site. If you store your passwords on your computer, you should avoid using any program to store those passwords that is not encrypted and password protected. You should never give out passwords over the phone, in text messages or through email.
You should use strong passwords. Here are some keys to a strong password:
- The longer the password the harder it will be for a criminal to try and crack. Using at least 10 characters makes it much harder for someone to be able to guess the password.
- You should use a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. You should try to pick something out of the ordinary. Never use your name, birth date, common words/passwords like: pass, password, or 123456. Here is an example of a strong password: iCanB$ecure2.
Mobile Device Security
When it comes to protecting your mobile devices, here are some key security tips:
- Password protect your phone - this could be a password, pin, or even a complex swipe pattern (offered on some mobile devices)
- Stay off public wi-fi networks - this goes for any mobile device (phones, tablets, laptops, etc...)
- Be careful of the apps you download - be sure to read the "fine print" on Apps you download, especially what you are giving the app access to on your mobile device. There are many apps available for download that are malicious in nature.
- Keep up with updates - mobile operating system and app updates often provide enhancements or patches to the security of the program.
- Log off when you are done - Many apps, like our ViaMobile app, will automatically log you off after a period of time or if your phone "locks", but you should always make it a habit to manually log out whenever you are done using an app. By staying logged in, you could leave yourself vulnerable if your phone is lost or stolen.