October is the spookiest month of them all. Corn fields become haunted mazes, ordinary buildings become haunted houses, and Halloween conjures up images of skeletons, goblins and ghouls.
But there is something scarier than all of those things that can happen suddenly: a cyberattack. October is Cyber Security Month, and Titonka Savings Bank wants to ensure you are taking the necessary precautions with your online security to thwart the devilish thieves who would love to gain access to your personal or financial information.
Review the following tips to see where you could improve your cyber security.
- Create a “great wall:” 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.
- Make sure your connection is secure: 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 en-cryptic: 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.
- Be careful with 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.
Your cyber security, both online and off, is only as good as you make it. Spend a little time in between the festivities this month to help prevent the horror of a cyberattack.
Titonka Savings Bank
Equal Housing Lender