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Online & Computer Security

Learn how to protect your computer and your information stored on it.

Secure your computer to help protect yourself from hackers, scammers, and identity thieves.

Never Give Out Your Online Banking Login and Password

If anyone contacts you claiming to need your Online Banking login and password to make a deposit to your account, do not give them your information. No legitimate company would ask for this. Online thieves could take your money and even deposit fake checks via mobile deposit.


Protect Your Passwords

Here are a few principles for creating strong passwords and keeping them safe:

  • The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Use at least 10 characters; 12 is ideal for most home users.
  • Mix letters, numbers, and special characters. Try to be unpredictable – don’t use your name, birthdate, or common words.
  • Don’t use the same password for many accounts. If it’s stolen from you – or from one of the companies with which you do business – it can be used to take over all your accounts.
  • Don’t share passwords on the phone, in texts or by email. Legitimate companies will not send you messages asking for your password. If you get such a message, it’s probably a scam.
  • Keep your passwords in a secure place, out of plain sight.

Use Security Software That Updates Automatically

Most security software can update automatically; set yours to do so. Also, set your operating system and web browser to update automatically. If you let your operating system, web browser, or security software get out-of-date, criminals could sneak their bad programs – malware – onto your computer and use it to secretly break into other computers, send spam, or spy on your online activities.


Give Personal Information Over Encrypted Websites Only

If you’re shopping or banking online, stick to sites that use encryption to protect your information as it travels from your computer to their server. To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the beginning of the web address (the “s” is for secure).

Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session isn’t encrypted, the entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https on every page of the site you’re on, not just where you sign in.


Disposing of Old Computers

Getting rid of your old computer? You can ensure its hard drive doesn’t become a treasure chest for identity thieves. Use a program that overwrites or wipes the hard drive many times. Or remove the hard drive, and physically destroy it.


To learn more about Online Security, visit the FTC Consumer Information page external link