Protect Your Computer and Information
Securing your computer and personal information, can become as simple as routine maintenance.
Following the tips below:
- Ensure that you have anti-virus software installed on your computer, which runs all of the time, and it is set up to automatically receive updates.
- Regularly update your operating system, browser or any other application with manufacturers' security patches.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer to help block suspicious connections to your system.
- Change your passwords regularly, and never divulge them to anyone.
- Remember to "log-out" of a web site once you completed your online banking or shopping session.
- When your computer is not in use, disconnect it from the internet.
For more detailed information on protecting your computer and information, please refer below.
Anti-virus software is a "must have" for your computer. This software identifies and removes known malicious computer programs from your computer, such as programs that log keystrokes as you type them and then transmits them to a hacker. It is important that your anti-virus software is set to run on your computer at all times in "real-time" mode, and receives automatic daily updates to protect against new viruses. The anti-virus scan configuration checks for viruses in attachments, especially crucial for those that come in e-mail. Software vendor help pages and documentation will assist you in protecting your computer.
Personal Firewall Protection
A personal firewall helps protect your computer from unauthorized access by "hiding" your computer on the Internet and blocking suspicious access attempts. A personal firewall is especially important if you use a high-speed Internet connection, because it is always on.
Install Security Updates
Regularly install security updates for your operating system (e.g., Windows), browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer) and all application software such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat, to name a few. This will help ensure that your computer is safe from the latest vulnerabilities. The manufacturers of these tools regularly release "patches" for just this purpose.
E-mail attachments can be hazardous to your computer unless you know the person who sent it. Attachments may contain viruses or code that could damage your computer. If the message or name of the attachment looks odd, contact the sender to make sure it is a valid message. Some computer attacks use e-mail lists on compromised computers to send what appear to be legitimate e-mails from friends.
One of the easiest ways to secure your information is to protect your passwords, which includes changing your password(s) regularly and never, ever telling anyone what they are.
Beware of E-mail/Internet Scams
You may receive an e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate company. It may even contain the company's logo or use a screen shot that looks like the company's web site. It could ask you directly for your personal information such as account numbers, PIN, social security number, credit card numbers or passwords. Don't fall victim to this scam. Your information will be forwarded to a phony site.
- For more tips on protecting your computer and personal information, see: National Cyber Security Alliance's Top Security Tips
- Read the American Trust Identity Theft Brochure
- Order your free credit report online
- Learn more about identity theft and ways to protect yourself at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Website
- OnGuard Online provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.