Tips from CIRI’s IT department
With technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, it can be difficult to stay informed on how to keep your personal information safe while surfing the web. Recent news of cyber attacks on banks, healthcare organizations, hospitality providers and retail outlets can make most of us hesitant to provide sensitive information online.
So how do you protect yourself from cyber criminals without avoiding the internet entirely? Sounds like a difficult task, but by using some simple guidelines, you can still enjoy the convenience of online shopping, banking and trip-planning without over-exposing yourself to online threats.
- Use a computer that you trust: Whenever possible, make sure to use a computer that belongs to you. Use of computer kiosks and other public-access computers in libraries or hotels is fine for normal web-browsing; however, providing your personal information or making credit card purchases from these computers is highly discouraged.
- Make sure your computer is up-to-date: Keep your computer updated with Windows updates, anti-virus protection and software updates for applications like Java, Adobe Acrobat, Flash and other programs that you commonly use.
- Avoid banking and online purchasing activities when using open or public WiFi networks: Whenever possible, do your banking and shopping from your home and avoid using networks provided by coffee shops, hotels or other publicly provided networks.
- Keep your accounts password-protected, and change them regularly: Password protection for online accounts is generally required when you are providing personal information. If you encounter a website that is asking for sensitive information from you but has not asked you to create an account or otherwise identify yourself, avoid giving any information without first verifying that the site is legitimate.
By following these guidelines, you can substantially reduce your risk of losing personal information to cyber criminals and enjoy the convenience of the Internet without becoming a thief’s next target.