Feature Article:

Cyber Security: What You Need to Know

Click. Browse. Accept. From clicking on a link to accepting friend requests, it's important to safeguard your information. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month—and we've got the tips to keep your information safe.

Keep Your Machines Clean

One of the first things you should do is make sure your computer has anti-virus software or a malware and spyware scan software installed. You'll also want to make sure all your software is kept up-to-date. Check to see if your software has a setting for automatic updates, which helps eliminate risks.

Safeguard Your Transactions

Before you submit any personal information online, you'll want to make sure you've taken a few precautions. Check for a padlock symbol in the top or bottom right corner of your browser and "https" in the address bar. This lets you know that your browser will encrypt any personal information you submit online. When it comes to Wi-Fi connections, limit what personal information you submit. Try to hold off on making financial transactions or using any websites that require a login and password until you know you're on a secure connection.

If you plan on using a computer other than your own, remember to clear the browser's history and cache when you're finished. This deletes saved information in cookies and makes passwords and other personal information inaccessible to others. Check your browser's Internet settings or "Help" section for instructions. For more tips, view our ID Theft & Online Security articles.

Secure Your Mobile Device

Your mobile device stores a lot of personal information about you. Add texting, web browsing, and mobile apps, and a world of security risks opens up. To protect yourself, set a lock code. This prevents others from accessing contact lists, stored login information from recent website visits, and more. You'll also want to check your phone's location and web browser settings. If your phone has a camera, check that the geo-tagging feature is turned off. This prevents any photos from being tagged with your current location. And if you plan on downloading apps to your phone, always read the fine print before accepting the terms and conditions.

When it comes to receiving texts, e-mails, and voicemails on your phone, take caution before responding. Scammers—people that try to deceive you for fraudulent purposes—have made their way into the mobile world hoping to gain any personal information they can. To help prevent this, always think before you click, tap, or respond to a call or voicemail!

Protect Your Social Network

Social networking websites allow you to stay in touch with friends and family, make new connections, and even network for jobs. Before you make your profile visible or searchable to others, you'll want to review the website's privacy policy and set up your privacy settings. This helps control who can search for you, see photos, send you messages, etc. When you post photos or status updates, keep your audience in mind and remember that once you post something online, it's out there indefinitely. And, before you accept requests or click on a link, think twice. Automated programs known as "bots" will sometimes pose as real people to gain access to your information. This may come in the form of a friend request, a fake message, etc.

Protect Yourself Now!

When you protect your information, whether on your computer or mobile device, you're also protecting your identity and your future.

Find out more about National Cyber Security Awareness Month

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