Internet Security

In order to better protect yourself online, always practice the following guidelines:

  • Never send personal or payment information via email.  Regular email has few protections and can easily be intercepted and hacked into.
  • Never click on any links within an email asking you to access your account or to verify PIN numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information.
  • If you get an email that appears to be from your bank asking you to log in or for other information, immediately contact your financial institution and report the incident.  Be prepared to forward a copy of the message to them for review if requested to do so.
  • If you or someone in your family mistakenly follows a link and provides sensitive information, immediately call your bank so that they can monitor your account or change your account number.
  • When using public computers and unsecured and/or public Wi-Fi, exercise extreme caution.  Computers in public locations such as hotels, libraries, or Internet cafes may have had spyware installed in them by cyber thieves.  Any information entered into these computers is then at extreme risk for being stolen.
  • Only provide personal information online if the webpage is secure and if you are the one initiating contact. Check the website for a lock icon (usually located in the bottom, right-hand corner of your browser) or check the website’s certificate of authenticity.
  • Keep all passwords secret.  Change them regularly, using a mixture of numbers and characters that would not easily be guessed.
  • Keep your personal computer operating system and Internet browser current.  This will help to protect your computer from spyware, adware and other types of potentially dangerous software.  Use a secure browser that encrypts or scrambles information you send over the Internet to guard your online activity.  When submitting information, always look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar and that the website’s URL begins https:// to be certain that your information is secure during transmission.
  • Do not open files, click on hyperlinks or download programs sent to you by email from people you don’t know.  Be wary using file-sharing programs.  Opening unknown files can expose your system to a computer virus or spyware, which can capture your passwords or any other information as you type it on your keyboard.
  • Anti-virus software should be kept up-to-date.  Any anti-virus  software needs frequent updates in order to detect newer forms of viruses.  Whenever notified of new updates to your software, update as soon as possible.  Some software programs will offer automatic updates.  Perform regular scans for spyware, adware and other types of potentially dangerous software.
  • Install a firewall, especially if you use high-speed Internet such as cable, DSL or T-1 which leaves your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.  Firewalls will keep you network secure from unwanted connection