Avoid Cyber Monsters During Cyber Security Month

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Avoid Cyber Monsters During Cyber Security Month

Goblins and ghouls may rule October, but there is a scarier threat out there than kids in costumes. Cyberattacks have the potential to throw a wrench to both your finances and your life. October is Cyber Security Month, so there is no better time to assess your cyber security vulnerabilities than now. Whether you are lacking in protecting your home or laptop computer, or you just need to be more aware of what systems pose a threat, the following tips can help you stay more secure.

  • Put up a “wall” of protection: Your computer has all kinds of ways to block attacks you don’t even know are happening. Most hardware comes with firewalls pre-installed, but you can purchase extra software packages for maximum protection and peace of mind. Read up on the type of protection that comes with your original device, and double check that settings are running and prepared for battle.
  • Secure your connection: Lending your neighbor a cup of sugar is one thing, but sharing a WiFi connection is pushing it. As a rule, don’t let non-residents tag team your home’s internet connection. Not only does it slow your bandwidth, but it makes it easier for others to sleuth around your computer. If you’re using a public access WiFi, keep your internet use to information searches rather than information transactions for the same reason.
  • Get cryptic with your passwords: Birthdays, Social Security numbers and phone numbers are easy to remember – but they’re even easier to hack. A solid password should contain upper and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and special characters when allowed. Make sure to mix up username-password combinations, too. If one account is compromised, you don’t want greedy hands to have access to all account as well.
  • Avoid PDA: Public Displays and Access on computers at libraries and kiosks are handy in a pinch, but don’t rely on them for major personal use. You’re at the hands of the third party who owns the device, and it’s not guaranteed that their firewalls are activated or their software secured. If you can help it, don’t input personal information, even if on a secured site, as you never know the activities of users before and after you.
  • Extend your security to your mobile devices: Most mobile devices nowadays are miniature computers that happen to make phone calls. Use the same precautions with phones and tablets that you would with a computer, and enable a password lock for your device in the event of left or loss.

    Be sure to carve out some time this month (after you’ve carved your pumpkins, of course) to identify your cyber security weak spots. It may just help prevent you from becoming a victim of financial fraud or identity theft.   Alpine Bank Equal Housing Lender Member FDIC