Speaker 1: Welcome everyone. You’ve heard it over and over and over again. Take steps protect yourself online, but with so many data breaches it is worth repeating, especially when it comes to your money. We are joined today by the Nanette Graviet, vice president of public relations at Mountain America Credit Union. You are right, we hear this a lot but yet we probably hear more about all the hacking that’s going on into our accounts. What can we do? What should we do right now to protect ourselves?
Nanette: Well it is very important that you take an active role in taking care of your security online. The first thing that we recommend is keep your computer clean and make sure that you have an up-to-date security software system installed, properly installed on your computer and make sure that you take advantage of those regular updates. So many times they send regular updates, “Hey you need to update your software” and we use snooze that or we just ignore it. Don’t do that. Take advantage of that. Be careful where you connect. A lot of people think that you should only protect your home computer but really any device that connects to the internet should be protected with security software. Then make sure you have good passwords.
Speaker 1: That is the hardest thing.
Nanette: I know.
Speaker 1: We talk about good passwords, different passwords. How do you do that? How do you make sure your passwords are secure?
Nanette: First of all you want to make sure you have very strong passwords. Long and strong is kind of the way to remember how to set those. Make sure you have a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols. Then once you have all those you are probably thinking “Oh my gosh, how am I ever going to remember all these passwords?” Take advantage of a password manager. Then you only have to remember one super secure password and it will let you in so you can access all the other passwords that you have.
Speaker 1: You know, it is one thing to talk about other passwords that you have. It is one thing to talk about keeping yourself secure whether it is Facebook or other websites but we are talking about your money; your banking. Where is it really important? What are some things that we really need to remember?
Nanette: E-Statements are a great way to start out keeping yourself safe. That way you ensure that those statements are coming to you. They are not sitting in a mailbox. They are also not cluttering up your desk. They are safe, better for the environment.
Speaker 1: You are throwing them away and some are going through your trash.
Nanette: A lot of people don’t shred even though we know the benefits of that. Setting up Billpay, getting your bills online and then paying them online is going to eliminate those statements as well. Then so many alerts are available, so you can get an alert on your device when anything happens on your account just so you can know that that is something that you transacted.
Speaker 1: Then that’s something else that brings us kind of to the fraud protection. Not only are you worried about people hacking into whatever accounts you may have, but then someone stealing your identity as well.
Nanette: Right. There’s a lot of phishing schemes out there and some people might say what is phishing? Phishing with a PH very similar to actual fishing where they are going to dangle something in front of you that looks real, but it is not. If you see an email that you are questioning, if in doubt throw it out. Delete it. Mark it as junk mail but don’t invite that into your computer. You want to be really aware of what’s going on. If something does happen and you do fall victim to a fraudulent scheme, contact your financial institution immediately. The faster you can get to them, the faster they can stop any additional fraud from happening on your account and help you take steps to recover.
Speaker 1: How do people get hold of you?
Nanette: Visit us at any of our branches or online at MACU.com.
Speaker 1: Nanette Graviet, thank you so much for joining us on this Money Monday.
Nanette: It is all right.
A Few Vital Steps to Protect Your Computer
Whenever you are online you and your computer are vulnerable – this is serious and is not something which you should ignore and hope it will go away. Computers are under attack from viruses, malware and other vicious and dangerous things every minute of every day. This can put your home, identity, money and information at risk.
Your computer needs and deserves your protection. Here are a few steps you must take in order to provide that vital protection.
- Update your computer whenever new updates are available. If you continue to use old, insecure operating systems your computer is at risk. New operating systems are always being released with improved security so make sure that yours are always up to date.
- Install anti-virus software onto your computer. There are some fabulous free packages available so there really is no excuse. Make sure that your chosen antivirus software is regularly updated so that it can keep abreast of the latest threats and viruses.
- Be sure to block spyware. Some of this spyware will effectively hi-jack your web browser redirecting you to their own website where they can go about installing and downloading trojans and other keylogger programs which enable hackers to take over your computer and steal your information.
- Use a firewall. These are designed to block your computer from hackers when they try to enter your computer. Make sure that your firewall and router are installed and configured properly.
- Beef up your passwords. Many passwords are remarkably easy to crack so make sure that yours are as complex as you can remember. Don’t write them down – passwords of more than 8 characters are the most difficult to crack and remember to use a combination of letters and numbers for the greatest effect. Passwords should also be changed regularly for added safety.
Follow these few vital steps to protect your computer and keep your information safe. For information on protecting your computer while on a public Wi-Fi through the use of a VPN click here.