Protecting Your Devices

Tip #1 International Data Privacy Day 2012

In your home, you likely have a number of devices that connect to the Internet and store data and important information. For example, the main computer in your house may be the place where information such as tax returns, banking records, documents with personal information, and other data is stored. You may also keep sentimental photos, music, and videos stored on your cell phones, laptops or even gaming devices. To be safe and secure, you need to know where this information is and protect it along with the devices where it’s stored.

The good news is that by following a few easy steps, you can keep a clean machine and protect your information.

Keep a Clean Machine.

Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.

Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.

Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.

Plug & scan: “USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

Protect Your Personal Information.

Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.

Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.

Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit who you share information with.

Connect With Care.

When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.

Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

Be Web Wise.

Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: Check trusted websites for the latest information and share with friends, family and colleagues. Encourage them to be Web wise.

Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.

Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

Be a Good Online Citizen.

Safer for me, more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.

Post only about others as you would have them post about you.

Help the authorities fight cyber crime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cyber crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.

This information is provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance. More information can be found at: http://www.stopthinkconnect.org

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