Paying your bills online is great because it may make paying your bills much easier and quicker, but it also puts you at a higher risk of having your personal information stolen. It is a double-edged sword. The new technologies we have available today have benefits and drawbacks.
There are some things that you can do to help secure your personal information when conducting business online :
1. Don’t use the same password for every account. This is one of the most common mistakes that people make, using the same password for all your accounts. Once a hacker obtains one of your passwords, then it makes their job of stealing all your information much easier. Don’t tell websites to remember your password, that makes cracking your password very easy.
2. You need to change your password at least every six months. I recommend changing it once a month. The password needs to be at least seven characters long, and include numbers as well as letters. Don’t make it your child’s birthday, or you pet’s name, because those kinds of passwords are the easiest to crack.
3. Password protect your computer and all handheld electronics. Don’t make it so easy for the thieves to get your information.
4. Don’t click on links in emails from anyone that you do not know. The Nigerian scam emails—they’re pretty obvious. But scams emails are getting trickier to spot, because they look like they come from a friend or a coworker. People’s email accounts have been breached, and spam sent out to contacts on their list, and the email scam looks legit–it looks like it came from your friend.
5. Do a credit check on yourself. Check your credit card statements and other bills once a month for any fraudulent charges, and follow up with your company no matter how small they are.
6. Look for third party verification. Trustworthy sites will always have a badge denoting that third party checked them out and found their security to be top notch. Three to look for: Verisign Secured, TRUSTe and McAfee Secure.
7.Never run your computer on the internet without having an anti-virus installed, updated regularly, and scanned daily . I suggest AVG Free download from cnet website:
8.Never run your computer on the internet without having an anti-malware program installed, updated regularly, and scanned daily . I recommend using Free MalwareBytes program downloaded from cnet website:
9.Browse the internet anonymously with Free Ghostery program, that blocks the websites from tracking your IP address. Available online for Free to download at:
10.The most common security threat, that I have seen are the rogue (fake) anti-virus attacks. While you are browsing the internet a pop up ad will appear on your screen warning you that you have Trojans and Malware on your computer, and you must buy their product to remove them. The message asks you to click on their link, and get a Free scan. Do NOT do it! It is a SCAM! Do NOT give them any of your information. In fact, I have found the best thing to do is to immediately SHUT DOWN your computer. It may be too late, and the Trojans may have already attached themselves to your system. If that is the case, then when you reboot it, the Trojan will NOT allow you to access the internet or remove the Trojan. IF you are able to access your anti-virus, you could scan your computer, and check to see if it has become infected. Most of my clients bring their systems to me after the machine has been infected, and they are NOT capable of accessing their computer. Different Trojans affect your system differently. Sometimes the only option for you, is to take your computer to a professional and have them clean it up for you.
I can tell you that I have not had any problems at all with any of my systems, that I keep my programs updated and scanned on them. I have seen a lot of people who do not use ANY virus protection program at all. I do NOT recommend that at all! Besides viruses, and malware that may attack your system, there could also be a “back door” put on your computer.
A backdoor trojan differs from a trojan in that it also opens a “backdoor” to your system. They’re also sometimes call Remote Access Trojans (RAT). These are the most widespread and also the most dangerous type of trojan.
They are so dangerous because the have the potential to allow remote adminstration of your system. As if a hacker were sitting at your keyboard, only worse. There’s almost no limit to what they can do.
Your best plan of action is to prevent these types of breaches to your system, but if you are not tech savvy, then you may have to hire an expert to analyze your system and make repairs for you.