Protect Your Personal InformationWhether you are using a desktop computer or a laptop, there are many things you can do to make sure your device remains secure. It’s also important to make sure you have a secure home network – especially as more and more home electronic devices are being connected to the internet.

Keep a clean machine

  • Keep security software current. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Automate software updates. Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet. Computers, smart phones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices all need protection from viruses and malware.
  • USB devices, such as thumb drives and portable hard drives, can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

Protect your personal information

  • Secure your accounts by asking for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you to verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
  • Make passwords long and strong. Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
  • Unique account, unique password. Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
  • Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
  • When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.

Connect with caution

  • When in doubt, throw it out. Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or mark it as junk email.
  • Get savvy about Wi-Fi by limiting the type of business you conduct when connected to a business or public hotspot. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
  • When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites are security enabled. Look for web addresses with https://, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. Sites that display just “http://” are not secure.

Be aware of current threats

  • Keep up to date on new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
  • Be wary of messages that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.
  • Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

Be a good online citizen

  • Safer for me more secure for all. What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
  • Post only about others as you have them post about you
  • Help the authorities fight cybercrime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Visit the DATCP Office of Privacy Protection for instructions on filing a complaint.