Whether you’re shopping online, connecting through social media, or
checking web-based email accounts, take steps to protect your personal
information from hackers and malicious software, also known as malware.
Hackers often use malware to gain unauthorized access to users’
Internet-connected devices, which can include personal information.
of malware include viruses and spyware. Viruses are programs designed
to infect computers and spread to other users’ devices. For example, a
virus may stop your computer’s operating system from loading. Spyware
may track and steal your personal information, such as passwords and
credit card numbers.
Follow these tips to help keep your network and personal information safe:
leave your home-wireless network unsecured. An unsecured network may
give intruders easy access. Ensure the Internet connection is behind a
firewall. A firewall refers to either hardware or software that controls
the information entering and exiting the network. Firewalls help keep
would-be intruders off your network, making it harder for them to
capture your personal information.
-Choose complex passwords for
your wireless router and network connections. This will prevent
strangers from being able to access your network.
available, always choose to enable encryption. This will scramble data
into an unreadable format for anyone trying to view your network from
-Run antivirus software updates regularly, or opt to
have your devices automatically update once new versions become
available. Cybercriminals regularly launch new viruses, so these updates
are important. Software should be set up to scan the device on a
regular basis. Also, update the computer’s operating system and Internet
browser, since those updates may contain new security patches.
click on suspicious links, attachments, or pop-up advertisements, and
don’t trust someone who calls you unexpectedly to report a problem with
your computer. Scammers often use these tactics to trick consumers into
clicking on links designed to activate malware.
Visit www.staysafeonline.org for additional tips and a list of websites offering free “security check ups” to examine your computer for malware.
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