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Shut the front door

Passwords alone are no longer adequate to protect your accounts. Without enabling additional authentication, you could be leaving the front door wide open to intruders. Additional authentication methods called multi-factor or two-factor authentication commonly include an email, text message, or phone call as an additional verification. You should use multi-factor or two-factor authentication wherever available.

 

Update and protect

Keeping your operating system, browser, and other applications updated with regular security patching will help protect you from threats. In addition to patching, running up-to-date and active antivirus and firewall software is crucial. These basic steps will help thwart off viruses and malware which may compromise your system.

Secure your passwords

Passwords are frequently an online necessity but are often the weakest link.  When passwords are needed, avoid using the same password on multiple sites and regularly change them. 

Avoid dictionary words, addresses, social security numbers, months, seasons, names, sports teams, and other well-known words.  Instead use upper/lower case, numbers, and symbols.  A passphrase or short sentence is often easier to remember and more secure than a traditional password

Look for the lock icon

Before entering passwords or sensitive information, check web site addresses to be sure they are HTTPS protected. HTTPS sites are encrypted to protect your information. If you don't see the lock icon in the address bar of the page you may want to reconsider entering any personal information on that page.

People may also attempt to steal your account information or data using fake web sites craftily designed to mimic real companies. Always take a moment to verify web site addresses before logging in or filling out forms.

Public vs. Private

Always be cautious when using public systems or public Wi-Fi. Be aware of your surroundings to prevent people from seeing your screen. Additionally, log out of web sites when business is complete and use VPN software on personal mobile devices.

Use reputable vendors

Only download and install software and applications from reputable vendors.

 

Monitor your accounts

Be sure to routinely monitor your online accounts, statements, and credit reports for suspicious activity. Each year you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, listed below.

 

image of a desktop computer, a laptop, tablet, and mobile phone.

Watch for malicious emails

Be cautious when opening links or attachments in suspicious emails. Consider the following when trying to decide whether an email is malicious:


• Spelling and grammar errors
• Urgent or threatening demands or requests
• Unexpected messages
• Unverified requests for personal or sensitive information
• Odd email addresses or links

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