Start the new year with a cyber security checkup! Taking preventative measures to protect your personal information now could save you valuable time and resources in the future. Keep your bank account safe by being cyber smart. Listed below are simple ways you can protect yourself from internet criminals.

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Install security programs

Protect yourself from malicious software by installing computer security programs, such as anti-virus software and firewalls. Anti-virus software can protect your personal information, such as account numbers and passwords. Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to your computer.

Avoid Wi-Fi woes

Be conscious of where and how you connect to public internet. While public Wi-Fi is convenient, it can put your personal information at risk if vendors don’t keep their security software up to date. Be aware of outdated sensitive material stored on your device, as well as the strength of your passwords, if you plan to connect publicly.

Browse safely

Know standard internet safety features. When banking or shopping online, look for “https” at the beginning of the web address. This signifies the website encrypts data during transmission. A padlock symbol signifies the website is secure. Further protect your data by only shopping on websites you recognize and trust.

Ignore unsolicited emails

Cybercriminals are savvy at creating fake emails that look legitimate but are harmful to your computer. It is best practice to ignore unsolicited requests. Don’t open or download an attachment from an email you weren’t expecting to receive or respond to any requests for personal information, such as your bank account number. Instead, try contacting the sender using a published email address or telephone number to confirm its legitimacy.

Social media smarts

Be discreet when using social networking websites. Criminals dig through social media websites to search for information to help them guess or reset passwords. Vulnerable information includes your place of birth, mother’s maiden name or even pet’s name. Check your privacy settings to ensure you are only sharing information with your intended audience.

Following these tips will help you be cyber safe in the new year!