How do I keep my personal information safe?
Security has received a lot of attention recently with breaches of passwords, personal information and card data affecting hundreds of millions of Americans. Personal security should no longer focus solely on preventing breaches, but also accepting that our information will be breached and formulating techniques to mitigate further damage.
The first step remains the same – we need to be diligent in preventing as many simple attacks as possible. Believe it or not, today’s computers are more secure than ever due to multiple levels of firewalls, encryption, anti-malware suites and automatic updates. That leaves us – the operators – as the new weakest link.
Last year, almost all infected computers were compromised due to opening a web page – not from viruses or criminals trolling the internet. According to Cisco’s 2014 Annual Security Report, Java was used to compromise the computer in 91% of cases, followed by Flash. Java and Flash are both wonderful technologies that helped transform the internet and many devices into the multimedia sensations they are today.
The complexities of those technologies, however, became their weakness.
Many websites no longer require Java or Flash. If these technologies are installed, consider removing them, along with any unnecessary internet add-ons or toolbars.
We also recommend that PC-based customers try the free Google Chrome web browser in place of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. In addition to its proven security benefits, we’ve found Chrome to perform significantly faster and render pages more accurately – including our own website.
Next, make a habit of examining a link’s destination (URL) before clicking. Most web browsers and e-mail applications will expose the URL simply by hovering over the link.
If the URL doesn’t lead to a reputable website, and especially if the site doesn’t end with a well-known ending like “.com,” think twice before clicking.
Finally, you can mitigate the effects of compromised usernames and passwords by using a unique password for each website or service. Each password should consist of at least 10 characters. If a criminal uncovers your Facebook credentials, be assured they’ll try to use them to log into Yahoo! Mail, Etsy, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Desktop and mobile password storage apps like LastPass and KeePass are designed to create and securely store complex credentials, and may increase your efficiency while decreasing your risk. Consider memorizing a handful of passwords (e-mail, online banking, etc.) in case you don’t have access to the password store.
We recommend NOT changing your password more frequently than every 12 to 18 months. It doesn’t matter if a criminal is in possession of stolen credentials for one minute or one month, the same amount of damage can be done. When forced to change passwords often, individuals often develop a predictable password sequence, record passwords in an insecure location, or begin sharing passwords among sites and services, which undermines security.
Please visit us online at LuanaSavingsBank.com for additional information on security, identity theft, credit and much more!
Luana Savings Bank