Ghosts and goblins are spooky, but know what really sends chills down the spine? Cyberattacks. Last year, nearly one million computer viruses and malicious software pieces were unleashed each day. October is Cyber Security Month, and Putnam Bank is giving you a couple of treats to avoid sneaky hackers’ tricks.
Enable the great ‘wall: Your computer has all kinds of ways to block attacks you don’t even know are happening. Most hardware comes with firewalls pre-installed, but you can purchase extra software packages for maximum protection and peace of mind. Read up on the type of protection that comes with your original device, and double check that settings are running and prepared for battle.
Secure your connection: Lending your neighbor a cup of sugar is one thing, but sharing a WiFi connection is pushing it. As a rule, don’t let non-residents tag team your home’s internet connection. Not only does it slow your bandwidth, but it makes it easier for others to sleuth around your computer. If you’re using a public access WiFi, keep your internet use to information searches rather than information transactions for the same reason.
Get cryptic: Birthdays, Social Security numbers and phone numbers are easy to remember – but they’re even easier to hack. A solid password should contain upper and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and special characters when allowed. Make sure to mix up username-password combinations, too. If one account is compromised, you don’t want greedy hands to have access to all accounts.
Avoid PDA: Public Displays and Access on computers at libraries and kiosks are handy in a pinch, but don’t rely on them for major personal use. You’re at the hands of the third party who owns the device, and it’s not guaranteed that their firewalls are activated or their software secured. If you can help it, don’t input personal information, even if on a secured site, as you never know the activities of users before and after you.
Cover your everything: Most mobile devices nowadays are miniature computers that happen to make phone calls. Use the same precautions with phones and tablets that you would with a computer, and enable a password lock for your device in the event of theft or loss.
Your online security is only as strong as you make it. Make time this month to strengthen your defenses to prevent fraud or identity theft from happening to you.
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