Internet Security Tips
The internet is a great place to find information, go shopping and stay in touch with friends, but it can also be a dangerous place if you aren’t careful. Ledge Light Federal Credit Union is committed to helping you stay safe when you are online. Below are some helpful tips that you can use while cruising the internet.
Protect your identity.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, address, Social Security Number, credit card or financial account numbers, passwords or other personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Take a few moments to review steps that you can take to keep your information safe.
- Keep software current and updated
All software contains security vulnerabilities that make it possible for someone to compromise a computer. We recommend that members update all software as necessary. This is extremely important for Adobe products, Java versions and web browser versions.
- Use anti-malware software
Malware is a general term used to describe viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, and rootkits. Malware’s purpose varies, but generally, it is hostile, intrusive and an annoyance. Members can help prevent malware by using antivirus and antispyware software that contains the latest malware definitions and practice safe Internet browsing. Members should also avoid opening email attachments from unknown sources.
- Use a firewall
Firewalls permit or deny Internet activity. Firewalls can be either hardware-based or software-based. The majority of today’s operating systems come with software-based firewalls. In addition, many home users have a hardware-based firewall that comes bundled with their high-speed Internet routers. We recommend that members use firewalls at all times, especially if performing banking activities in public places.
- IDs and passwords
ID’s and passwords are usually the first line of defense for protecting computers. They can consist of letters, numbers, multiple words or symbols. Use the following guidelines for selecting and storing ID’s and passwords:
- Use a minimum of 8 characters containing a combination of UPPERCASE and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols (#$%&).
- Stay away from obvious information such as birthdays or a nickname.
- Use a different password for each of your online accounts.
- Avoid using the “remember my password” option even if your computer suggests it.
- Change your passwords often and never reuse them.
- Do not share your passwords, write them down or post them near your computer.
- Mobile security
The use of smartphones (e.g., iPhone, Android) to perform banking activities is on the rise. Smartphones have many of the capabilities that computers do and are beginning to face similar risks that affect computers. Follow these guidelines to minimize risk:
- Mobile Application – Obtain from reputable sources only (e.g., iTunes App Store, Android Market).
- Passwords - Password-protect your phone.
- Email and Internet - These face the same risks as they do on computers, including phishing attacks, malicious websites, infected attachments and scams. Use the same precautions you would when using your computer.
- Wireless Interfaces - Wireless interfaces may be enabled by default which would allow your phone to connect to a public wireless network automatically. While this may be desired activity, there are risks involved because the security of that wireless network cannot be guaranteed.
- Updating - Keep your phone and any installed applications up-to-date.
- Firewall - Enable your phone’s built-in firewall.
- Anti-malware - Install antimalware software.
- Disposal - Erase all personal information before disposing of your phone
- Wireless security
The majority of computing devices purchased today have wireless capabilities. Further, many public locations have wireless hotspots available for public use. By default, wireless networks are not secure and individuals with malicious intent can eavesdrop on what you are doing. Follow these guidelines when using wireless technology:
- Encryption - Use the strongest level of encryption on your home wireless network.
- Passwords - Change the default administrator passwords on your home wireless network.
- Make the wireless network invisible – Disable your home wireless network’s ability to broadcast its service set identifier (SSID).
- Report suspicious emails
Most e-commerce websites maintain security departments that deal with Spam, Phishing and other security breaches. Forward any unusual emails and website addresses to the security departments immediately so that they can advise you on how to proceed.
- Disconnect from the Internet when not in use
Literally “unplugging” the PC and disabling your wireless router may help safeguard your information when the computer is not being used. Dial up connections can be unplugged from the telephone outlet while wireless routing devices can simply be unplugged from their electrical source or “powered down” during periods when the PC is idle.
- Allow Ledge Light to contact you through normal channels
Make sure that the credit union has your best possible contact telephone numbers and current mailing address. If we need to contact you, we will more than likely to use the telephone followed by an actual paper letter sent to your official address.
- Everyone makes mistakes
It is always better to obtain guidance from your financial institution when you suspect that you have inadvertently entered your personal information on a bogus website. Do not delay in contacting our member service department. There are many resources available to preserve your piece of mind and financial well being. When in doubt, make the phone call.
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