Tips for Smart Internet Usage and Protecting Your Personal Information

You play a vital role in ensuring the safety of your personal and financial information. It is your responsibility to keep your computer up to date and protected. Here are some ways to ensure your information is protected.

1. Use an up-to-date and reputable web browser that supports 128-bit encryption, such as current versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

2. Practice safe internet use. Never click on pop-up messages or links to applications. Get into a habit of manually going to links that are sent to you rather than simply trusting them.

3. Never share your user ID or password with anyone for any reason. If it is compromised, call and have the ID and/or password disabled or reset.

4. Be especially careful about using public or shared computers. Don’t access personal information on a computer unless you are confident that it, and the network it is connected to, is secure.

5. Don’t leave your computer unattended while logged in to online banking or other sites where you provide personal information. Others could gain access to your account information if you walk away.

6. Always log out when you are finished to properly end your session. Once a session has ended, no further transactions can be processed until you log in to the system again.

7. Close your browser when you are finished using it, so others cannot view any information by using the “back” button on your browser.

8. Disable automatic password-save features in the browsers and software you use to access the internet.

9. Do not download or install a program on your computer unless you are confident that it is from a trusted and reputable source.

10. Use a layered approach to protect your computer and personal information. There is no silver bullet when it comes to internet security. At a minimum, you should include each of the items below in your layered security. These may be found separately or as part of a good internet security software suite. It is up to you to determine which is best for your situation and budget.

a. Install security patches as soon as your operating system and internet browser manufacturers make them available.

b. Use a firewall. A good firewall will not only block unauthorized access while permitting outward communication, but can also do packet filtering and application filtering.

c. Install and use a quality anti-virus program. As new threats are created each and every day, be sure to update your anti-virus program often and scan your computer regularly. Never allow a virus or any other security threat to remain on your computer.

d. Install and use an anti-spyware program. Again, update often and scan your computer regularly.

e. Install and use an anti-adware program. Prevent annoying pop-ups and close the door on other threats.

f. Use network and internet threat protection. While this may have many different names, the function is to monitor your network and internet settings and protect them from unintended changes that could compromise security.

g. Practice proactive threat protection. This may also have different names, but the function is to provide protection against new, unknown threats before traditional definitions are available.

h. Other features to look for in an internet security software suite may include: anti-spam, anti-phishing, intrusion prevention, parental control, etc. The list keeps growing. The bottom line is to protect your computer and keep it protected.

i. TVFCU encourages our business members to conduct a risk assessment of their place of business. Ensuring that there are proper controls will help protect against unauthorized access to online business accounts. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) provides some good information for mitigating all types of risks, including those related to cyber or information security (ready.gov/hazard-prevention-deterrence). Also, the National Institute of Standards and Technology provides a Risk Management Guide for Information Technology Systems.

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