At United Teletech Financial, we strive to provide our members with relevant and timely information that can help you protect yourself while you are performing financial transactions online. The information below provides some basic steps that you can take to protect yourself, your computer and your personal information.
Good Practices for a Secure Home Computer
How can you protect yourself?
The easiest way is to follow these basic steps:
- Update all of the software on your computer on a regular basis. Windows has an automatic update feature that should be turned on. This will automatically load and install any new updates to Microsoft software. Please visit the Microsoft site for information regarding automatic updates to Microsoft software. Microsoft’s website
- Install good antivirus and anti-spyware programs, and regularly update them. It is highly recommend that software be set to check for new updates daily and to automatically scan the computer.
- Install and use firewalls on your computer and your communications equipment. If you are using Microsoft’s Windows XP or later, it comes with a built-in firewall. If you are not sure how to enable your firewall, consult the user manual or contact a local computer professional who can perform this work for you.
- Do not download programs from the Internet without being certain that you trust the company or person from which it originates. Always ensure that your antivirus program is working and up-to-date before downloading any files.
Creating a Secure Password
How can you make a strong, secure password?
- Mix in numbers and punctuation.
- Intersperse capitals with lower case letters.
- Use at least eight characters if allowed.
- Change your password at least every 90 days.
- Make sure you can remember it!
Avoiding Online Thieves
What can you look out for?
Be aware of any e-mail that asks you to log in to your account, verify your account, or provide any other identity information. Be wary no matter what reason is given, and no matter how convincing the e-mail may be.
Follow these simple rules and you should be safe:
- Don't click on any links within an e-mail asking you to access your account or to verify PIN numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information.
- If you get an e-mail that appears to be from your financial institution asking you to log in or for other information, immediately contact your financial institution and report the incident.
- If you or someone in your family mistakenly follows a link and provides sensitive information, immediately call your financial institution so they can monitor your account or change your account number.
- Remember, that thieves copy text and images from banking websites to make the e-mails look authentic and fool people into divulging sensitive information.
- Never give out your personal or account login information after following a link from an e-mail, even as "identity verification" for a contest. Attackers frequently use such tactics to lure you into giving up identifying information.
Public Access Computers
You should not check any financial accounts from an unknown computer. You should also avoid accessing any system that contains sensitive personal information. The threat here is not only someone stealing the information via software or hardware, but someone may also be able to see over your shoulder, either in person or via a security camera. Simply displaying your personal information on the screen could lead to it being stolen.
How Can I Protect My Wireless connection?
- Use encryption.
- The most effective way to secure your wireless network from intruders is to encrypt, or scramble, communications over the network.
- Change your router’s pre-set password.
- The manufacturer of your wireless router probably assigned it a standard default.
- Do not assume that public "hot spots" are secure.
- Many public establishments offer wireless networks for their customers’ use. These "hot spots" are convenient, but they are typically not secure. Be wary about sending or accessing information from a public wireless network. Unless you can verify that a hot spot has effective security measures in place, it may be best to avoid sending or receiving sensitive information over that network.