Protect your computers, your data, your identity and your money from online criminals

1. Have computer security programs running and regularly updated to defend from  the latest threats.

Consider using  a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your computer, and install antivirus software to protect against malware that can take your data hostage (ransomware), or steal information such as usernames and passwords. Keep your antivirus software up to date.

2. Be careful about where and how you connect to the Internet for the resources involving sensitive or personal information.

Avoid using Public Wi-Fi networks and computers at places such as coffee shops, libraries or hotels centers, since you cannot guarantee their security software is up-to-date. Also be careful about  your surroundings and be vigilant about wireless identity theft.

3. Educate yourself about Internet safety features.

For example, when browsing the online resources that request or store your personal data, such as shopping or banking websites, make sure that the connection is encrypted and secured through SSL (read SSL – what it means, how it works and where it is used.). Look for a padlock symbol on a top left of a website’s address page and “https://” at the beginning of the URL (signifying that the website is authentic and encrypts data during transmission).

4. Ignore unsolicited emails and be suspicious of those asking for personal information.

Especially ignore them if they are “phishing” for information by asking you to click on a link or download an attachment. Be careful even if emails come from people you know: their account may have been hacked and sends malicious emails unbeknownst to them. Some fake emails look very legitimate, but still contain malware such as virus or a ransomware.  If you are not sure of email’s legitimacy, contact the source directly via telephone number or going directly to their website (without clicking on links). Most importantly always ignore and delete emails asking for information such as usernames and passwords, social security number, or bank or credit account numbers. Legitimate institutions will never ask for that information via email.

5. Be smart and discreet when using social networking sites.

Avoid giving out information such as date or place of birth, mother’s maiden name, a child’s or a pet’s name: it can help cybercriminals in guessing your passwords for various online accounts. That brings us to the next point:

6. Use the most secure process you can when logging into online account.

Do not use obvious information such as birthday or pet’s name for a password: Create “strong” passwords that are hard to guess, use combination of numbers, letters, and special characters, change them regularly; avoid using same passwords for multiple accounts.

7. Small business owners – include your team in sybersecurity measures.

Create and enforce cybersecurity policies and training for your employees, and perform a regular computer network security risk assessment.