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Be Cyber Secure
It is up to you to make sure your personal information and tech equipment is secure. Follow these steps to be more cyber secure when you are online, and are using your devices.
1. Make sure you have up-to-date and active security software that includes:
- Firewall Protection. A firewall is basically a software program or a 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. Don't assume an anti-virus program offers protection against all kids 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.
2. Update, update, update! Keeping your operating system, security software programs, and browsers current can help secure your identity. Updates provide new patches for any security weaknesses.
3. Evaluate 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.
4. Explore security options for all Internet-connected devices, including gaming systems.
5. Make sure mobile devices aren't set to automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi, as this can expose you to insecure networks.
6. When not in use, disable mobile device features that connect you to other devices.
7. Configure mobile phones or tables to lock automatically after 5 minutes of non-use.
8. Laptops are popular targets of identity thieves. Don't store personal information on yours and consider using a laptop lock.
9. Back up your data regularly. If your computer or device is compromised or stolen, you'll still have access to important files.
10. 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
1. 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.
2. Don't use the same password repeatedly. If identity-stealing hackers get it from one account, they will try it on many.
3. Don't open emails from unknown senders.
4. Never email financial information, or your Social Security Number.
5. Download software or email attachments only from sources you know are trustworthy.
6. Read all disclosures before downloading software, including apps.
7. Always type authenticated Web addresses directly into the browser instead of clicking links.
8. Limit what you share on social media. Consider increasing your privacy settings.
9. Don't stay signed into accounts. When you are finished, log off and close your browser window.
10. Close all pop-up windows by clicking on the X in the title bar. Consider using a pop-up blocker.
11. Don't put unknown flash drives into your computer.
12. Before disposing of a computer, mobile device, or any Internet-connected item, completely and permanently remove all personal information on it.
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