You might not realize it, but a lot of sensitive information is received and sent through your computer or Smartphone on a daily basis. This information might include your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and your passwords.

An ill-intentioned person could take advantage of security flaws in your computer or phone to steal your identity, access your online banking account, or use your email account.

Using the Internet for online shopping, banking, emails, or connecting with others on social media is incredibly convenient. There’s no reason to stop doing these things because of safety concerns, as long as you use precautions to protect your accounts.

Focus on protecting your Internet devices and personal information:

  1. Use an effective antivirus. Antivirus software has been developed for your computer, Smartphone, and tablet. For your greatest safety, install these security programs on your devices that access the Internet and keep your software up to date.

  1. Use dedicated apps whenever possible. Think of all the personal information you share on your phone, including accessing your mailbox or using social media. Dedicated apps help keep your personal information away from prying eyes.

    • Using apps from your bank, favorite retailers, or social media websites for activities like online shopping, banking, or posting on social media instead of logging on to your accounts via a mobile browser might not be safe.

  1. Create safe passwords and avoid sharing them with anyone. Follow these tips for password security:

    • For passwords, the longer the better. Try coming up with a phrase you will remember instead of using a single word. Think of a memorable sentence and use the first letter of each word. Vary between upper and lower case letters and add in some numbers.

    • Change your passwords regularly. Change all your passwords once a month or more frequently if you have any reason to believe there might be a security breach.

    • Many Internet users have the same passwords for everything or use close variations. It is best to use very different passwords for your email, social media, and online banking.

    • Writing down your passwords can be a good way to keep track of them. Protect your password list by keeping it in a locked drawer or another safe place.

  1. Update your computer and Smartphone regularly. This includes downloading the updates for your operating system, antivirus software, and browser. Failing to install these updates could lead to security flaws in your system that hackers can take advantage of.

  1. Ensure your Internet connection is secure. Make your Wi-Fi safer with these tips:

    • Create a password for your router, change the SSID of your network, enable network encryption, and consider reducing the range of your network so potential hackers in your area cannot easily connect to it.

    • There is free software you can use to see who is currently connected to your Wi-Fi network. Install this software and check it regularly. If you see that an intruder has gained access to your network, immediately change your passwords and the name of your network.

    • Avoid using a public Wi-Fi network to shop or log into personal accounts that have sensitive information. Wait until you get home for online banking or shopping.

It’s also important to be aware that allowing someone else to access your devices could be a safety issue since most of your passwords are probably saved on these devices. Create a strong password for your computer and phone and avoid selling your used devices, even after wiping the hard drive, since information can still be retrieved by those who know how.

Stay up to date with the latest trends in how hackers steal information. Methods that are currently relevant to keep you safe might become obsolete in the near future.

Advances in technology continue to make everyday tasks easier. Feel free to embrace these innovations and take advantage of every benefit! While enjoying technology, keep these tips in mind to help you keep your financial accounts and identity safe and secure.