Cyber-Security: A Checklist To Securing Your Computer and Your Identity

Below are steps you can take to ensure that your computer is as safe as it can be when surfing the Internet.

Cyber-Security is at all time high. Just a couple of days ago, there were reports that over $1 Billion Dollars has been stolen from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) around the world via cyber-security bank hack as reported by BBC News Technology (Cyber-security experts judge $1Bn Bank Hack, Report, February 15, 2015). It was discovered that bank employees were sent a spoof email leading them to divulge information that hackers needed to get in. Big companies like Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Target and the most recent one, Anthem Health Insurance - were all hacked and hackers were able to steal consumer information by the millions. If big companies can get hacked, how can YOU, as an individual or small business owner, protect yourself from hackers and identity theft?

Here's what you can do to minimize your risk:

  • Routinely Change Your Password.
  • Don't use the same password for multiple services.
  • Enable two factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Monitor and Update your AntiVirus and Malware Programs regularly.
  • Keep your browser and operating system up to date.
  • Do Not Give Out Personal Information to Unsolicited Callers.
  • Never click on links from unsolicited emails.
  • Never open email attachments from unsolicited emails.
  • Turn off your email program's option to automatically download attachments.
  • Turn off your email program's option to preview emails
  • Verify the authenticity of requests from companies or individuals.
  • Carefully read permissions and check out the app publisher before installing phone apps.
  • Avoid inserting hard drives, flash drives, thumb drives onto your computer, unless it came from a trustworthy source.
  • Do not send personal data via email.
  • Avoid logging into personal account using public computers or WiFi.
  • Back up your personal files on a regular basis.
  • Use firewall for your internet connection
  • Train family members and employees on cyber security best practices
  • Make backup copies of important files, photos and media to an external hard drive - then disconnect the external hard drive thereafter.
  • Control physical access to all your computers and network components.
  • Secure Wi-Fi Networks on all point of access.
  • Require individual user accounts for all family members and employees.
  • Limit rights and permissions to all users to access data, information and installation of software.

We have to change the way we think in terms of security. We have to behave in a way that might not fit with your personality but in order to protect one self from identify theft or cyber-attack you have to be protective of your personal information. By following the above personal and business recommendations, you will minimize your chances of becoming a victim - but there's no guarantee that it will never happen unless you change the way you play and conduct yourself online.

Stop. Think. Research. Confirm. Verify. Then proceed with caution.

  • Companies that have been hacked in 2014 - Target, Neiman Marcus, UPS, AT&T.
  • Companies that have been hacked in 2014 - Ebay, Home Depot, Yahoo and Michaels
Enrique Tan WebsiteCenter.com