8 Tips for Protecting Yourself Online
Though the internet has many advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams. According to Symantec, 12 adults become a victim of cybercrime every second. Yakima Federal Savings and Loan recommends the following tips to keep you safe online:
- Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest version of your web browser and operating system are important in defending against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest security updates as they become available.
- Microsoft has discontinued support and updates for Windows XP as of April 8, 2014. If you are currently running Windows XP, we recommend upgrading to a more current operating system. Continuing to use Windows XP may leave your computer more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
- Install anti-virus software on your computers and mobile devices. Anti-virus software searches your devices for threats. If a threat is found, it will quarantine it and remove it from your computer automatically. It is also important to keep your anti-virus solution up to date with the latest security updates by enabling automatic updates.
- Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with.
- Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at firstname.lastname@example.org – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.
- Keep personal information personal. An attacker can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
- Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
- Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
12 Ways to Protect Your Mobile Device
Your mobile device provides convenient access to your email, bank and social media accounts. Unfortunately, it can potentially provide the same convenient access for criminals. Yakima Federal Savings and Loan recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.
- Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
- Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
- Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do
for your computer by installing mobile security software.
- Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
- Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
- Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
- Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
- Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
- Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
- Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
- Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren’t very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.
- Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.