Steps to Protect your Financial Data
Every time we get on a digital device such as computers, smartphones, and tablets to check our bank statements, purchase items via the web, or even chat with loved ones we are vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Anytime you enter passwords, credit card information or other sensitive data on a website you could be putting your identity and financial data at risk.
Cyber criminals search the web constantly looking for their next unsuspecting prey. And in a matter of seconds, without you knowing it, if you don’t take the proper precautions, the next casualty could be you.
I’m not trying to scare you from using the internet. I just want to make you aware of the dangers and how to protect yourself. Treat the internet as a battle ground, protect yourself at all cost.
Here’s some great information on how to protect your financial data and other sensitive information.
- https://, not http://
Never enter any sensitive information on a site unless the URL has https:// before the web address. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. HTTPS is often used to protect highly confidential online transactions like online banking and online shopping order forms.
- Check all links before you click.
Before you click on any links make sure they are legitimate. Just hover your mouse cursor over the link, it will then show you the web address it’s going to open.
For instance, if the text for the link makes you think you are going to reach a news website, such as “www.cnn.com,” but the link indicates “adx088.net“, then you should resist the urge of clicking the link. This is an example of hyperlinking, and it’s a common practice in phishing attacks.
Some links are created by using services, such as goo.gl or tinyurl, which shorten the link, and there is no sure way to see if that link is legitimate. In some cases, some of those links may send you to a malicious site that will install malware on your system. Never fear though there is a great tool you can use if you’re not sure where a certain link is going.
Redirect Detective is a free tool you can use to find out where the link will be redirected. It will show you the complete path of the redirected link.
- Ensure your Remote Desktop Protocol is disabled
You should never leave the remote desktop protocol enabled all the time. Ransomware can get to your PC when the Remote Desktop Protocol is turned on. To disable this feature just go to system properties, then click on the remote tab, and check disable. Be sure to click apply and okay before closing out of system properties. If you keep vital financial records in your system, it is best to just remove this component altogether and use another document sharing system such as TeamViewer.
- Don’t click on links in emails unless you trust the source.
Just because you receive an email with a link doesn’t mean you have to click on it. Never open an email unless you know who it’s from. A lot of malware gets installed on computers from people just opening simple emails and clicking on links.
- Eight or more characters is best for a strong password
Always create passwords that are at least 8 characters long, unique, and use a mix of random numbers, lower, and upper case letters. Using a Password manager such as Sticky Password is the best way to protect and create strong passwords. See our blog on Password Managers. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts. Make a habit of changing your main passwords every 30 days. Even if you are hacked, having different passwords for each account will help you limit a potential loss.
- Use two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a necessary to keep your all your information secure. Basically, it requires not one but two pieces of privileged information before granting access to an online account. For Example, if two-factor authentication is set up for an account, and a hacker tries to break into that account he would need an email address, password and the code set up for the two-factor authentication. It makes it much harder for them to figure out all the elements needed to login to your account. Some accounts set up with two-factor authentication will send a unique security code directly to your cell phone via text messaging and needs to be entered in the login area of the site before access is granted.
- Log Off
Once you’re finished with any website your logged in to; don’t just close the browser, log off.
- Use a good antivirus program
Protect yourself, always use antivirus software! Antivirus software checks for malicious computer programs and monitors files before they are opened. Up-to-date software is important to protect against the most recent viruses. If you buy software online make sure it’s from a genuine supplier.
You also need to have a Malware program installed on your computer to protect you against advanced financial malware created to steal your private data and confidential information.
- Install All Security Patches
Every day have your computer check for updates. I’m talking about OS updates such as Windows, Mac OS X, or any other OS system you may be running, along with your browser security updates. Updates generally have patches needed to keep malware and other forms of malicious software from downloading on your computer. You can set this to automatically download and install updates. These updates are released to cover security breaches and to protect you from the latest threats.
- Make sure your firewall is on
A firewall is a security shield that stops scammers from getting into your computer. Operating systems such as Windows come with built in firewall settings. They can monitor and warn you of unexpected access to your computer.
If all of this is too much for you to worry about; Let Megabite take the worry out of surfing the web. We have programs designed with you in mind. User Freedom is just what it sounds like. Freedom to surf the web without worrying about security. Call us today 904-430-0350.