It seems like we hear of a new threat to our private information every day. The latest threat, the heartbleed bug, went undetected for almost two years and affected a majority of websites on the internet. The Heartbleed security threat should serve as a wakeup call to everyone to better protect their confidential information and keep it secure.
Never give out or share your passwords, pin numbers, or social security number to anyone. Do not store that information on your computer. It is often convenient to let your computer remember your passwords, but you never know who can get a hold of that stored information. You need to regularly change your passwords and always use a different password for each of your accounts. Use numbers, letters, and symbols when choosing a password.
Continuously maintain the security of your personal computer. Be sure that you have a current and active virus scanner and an active firewall to protect your information. Check for any software updates or security patches and be sure to update your computer often.
Be sure to “log out” when you are leaving a website. Logging out will clear the site of your information. If you simply close the browser, your information may remain on the site and would therefore be accessible by others. Try and use your personal computer rather than public computers when accessing confidential data, like your bank accounts.
Be careful when using a wireless network. Be sure it is a secure network before entering any of your passwords or personal information. Information is easily accessed when you transmit it over an unsecured wireless network.
Know where and what you are downloading. Before you download anything online, be sure you know the source of the data and that is trustworthy. You don’t want to download a virus or spyware by downloading from an untrustworthy website.
Double check that the websites you are visiting are secure. Before entering any of your information, be sure that that URL says “https” and not just “http.” The extra “s” on the end means that the website is secure for transmitting information.
Never click on an email and enter your password or user name. If you get an email from a business that you work with, do not click through the email. Instead, open a new browser window and go directly to their website and enter your information. This will keep you from falling prey to phishing scams trying to get your usernames and passwords.