In today’s post, Neal O’Farrell talks about the importance of keeping on top of your own personal security. And there is no better time to do that than in October, which is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
It’s October again and you know what that means. No, not just Halloween, although some of the stuff out there is beginning to get scary. It’s also National Cyber Security Awareness Month and a great time for you to review your security, take a close look at your personal habits, and make some of those changes you might have been putting off.
October should be “take another look” month because it’s a great reminder for you to take another look at some of the stuff you might be taking for granted.
Take another look at Facebook
• Have you changed your password recently? If not, do it now.
• Have you removed any personal information that might help a thief learn more about your background, like where you grew up, went to school, date of birth etc.?
• Have you hidden your mobile phone number on your Facebook page? Your bank may use that number to send you alerts and you don’t want thieves intercepting those alerts.
• Have you revisited your privacy settings lately? Because Facebook changes so much, you should check your settings regularly to make sure they’re still doing what you expect them to. Network World has a great slideshow entitled “Facebook Privacy: 11 settings to revisit now.”
Take another look at your computer and device security
• When was the last time you updated your anti-virus software, and is it set to automatically update?
• Have you checked that your anti-virus program is actually in place and turned on? Make sure that it wasn’t disabled accidently by another user or family member, or even by malware.
• Are you protecting valuable information on your computer or laptop with encryption? It’s a great defense against theft and hackers.
• Have you removed any apps from your phone and tablet that you don’t really need?
• Have you installed security software in your smartphone or tablet? Don’t forget that these devices can be just as vulnerable as your computers.
Take another look at your credit reports
• When was the last time you checked your credit reports? If it’s been more than three months, it might be time to check them again. Check your reports free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
• Are you using IDENTITY GUARD®? IDENTITY GUARD® provides one of the most comprehensive collections of security tools to protect your identity from all kinds of attacks and it works best if you take advantage of all its great features.
Take another look at your browser
• Have you updated it lately or set it to automatically update?
• Have you looked at the security of add-ons and extensions to your browser, and uninstalled extensions you don’t need?
• Have you thought about switching or upgrading to Internet Explorer 9 or IE 9? It has a host of new security features that can provide almost as much protection as desktop security software.
Take another look at your kids
• Are they on Facebook? If they are, have you talked to them about dangers and precautions?
• Have you created your own Facebook page so you can friend your kids and keep an eye on them?
• Have you set rules for what they can’t say and send on their phones and computers?
• Have you moved family computers to a family area – meaning no computers where you can’t see them?
Take another look at your passwords
• Have you changed the most important ones lately, like bank accounts, email, and Facebook?
• Have you moved from passwords to passphrases, to make it easier to create and remember complex passwords?
• Have you started using a password manager to keep all those passwords in a safe place?
• Have you talked to your kids or employees about changing and protecting their passwords?
Take another look at your bank accounts:
• Do you have a password management system, like ID Vault® or an anti-keylogger such as PRIVACYPROTECT®, on your computer to protect your bank logins and passwords from thieves?
• Have you opted for e-statements instead of paper statements, to protect your statements from being intercepted in the mail?
• Have you set up account alerts so that your bank or credit union can immediately notify you of any payments, transfers, or withdrawals?
• Have you changed your bank account password recently?
• Have you checked your statements for any unusual transactions?
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