Many of us are constantly connected to the online world these days. This means that the potential is there for our computers and personal information to be compromised which greatly increases the risk of ID theft and financial fraud to occur. However, by taking some basic precautions you can significantly reduce the risk of your computing environment being compromised. Following these simple guidelines should help your computing environment become more secure:
Use an antivirus program
This is your first line of defense against any virus threat. While we can't endorse any specfic antivirus program, AVG and Avast! are two decent free options you can check out.
Keep your computer and software up-to-date
Keep your computers and network equipment secured with the latest software updates and enable automatic updates whenever possible. This includes updates to third party applications such as Java and Adobe Products.
Use hard drive encryption
In the event your machine is lost or stolen, drive encryption can prevent others from accessing the data on your hard drive. The purpose is to encrypt or scramble your data on your machine so that it can only be read with your encryption key.Many operating systems offer drive encryption. Microsoft offers Bitlocker and Apple has FileVault. There are also other third party encryption offerings.
Enable your firewall
Think of the firewall to your computer as the fence around your property. If there were multiple holes cut in the fence, it wouldn’t be very useful at keeping people out. Firewalls are typically enabled by default on Windows machines, but double check to make sure it’s on. Here are instructions to do so if you are using Windows 7. Only allow necessary applications inbound access through your firewall. The same principles apply to your network firewall.
Configure your screensaver
Set an auto-locking screensaver so your account gets locked out after a few minutes. This is useful if you forget to lock your machine when are away from it. On Windows machines this can usually be done by pressing the “Windows Key” and the “L” button simultaneously.
Make your passwords stronger
The longer and more complex the password, the better. At least 16 characters with a combination of upper and lowecase letters, numbers, and special characters is a best practice.
Configure your router
Use the strongest wireless security available (currently WPA2-CCMP) with a long and complex password for your wireless network. Disable WPS on your wireless router for greater security.
Think that some secure banking information
of yours has been compromised?
If you suspect that your personal financial information has been compromised, call MutualBank Customer Support at 800-382-8031.