Protect Devices: How-to Protect Your Device from Hackers
Many of us store personal, sensitive and confidential information on our digital devices. This makes them an attractive target for scammers and criminals. Follow best practices in these areas to help keep your devices secure:
Create Strong Passwords
Whether creating an Online and Mobile Banking password or a password for a social media account, we recommend you use the tips below to devise one that’s strong.
- Make your password a combination of letters, numbers, special characters and capitalization.
- Avoid using personal information.
- Create a different password for each online account.
- Change your password frequently. Every 90 days is recommended.
- Don’t share your password or allow it to be saved on your computer.
Use Device Security Features
Whether creating an Online and Mobile Banking password or a password for a social media account, we recommend you use the tips below to create one that’s strong.
- Password protect your devices. Use a strong password. If you choose to do so, use an app from a reputable vendor that employs strong encryption to store your passwords.
- Ensure your mobile device is secure. Turn on the auto-lock feature which makes your device automatically lock after a period of time.
- Record your device’s information. Mobile devices have a unique number – IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) or MEID (Mobile Equipment Identifier) – that can be used to identify them if stolen. Record your device’s IMEI or MEID number, serial number and MAC / Wi-Fi address and store them in a safe place.
- Use mobile security apps. Consider using mobile security apps which can be useful by authorities in the location and recovery of stolen devices.
- Report all device thefts immediately to your wireless carrier and local law enforcement. Being able to remotely erase personal data on your device is important as it’s unlikely the device will be recovered. This is especially important if you store financial, health or work information on your device.
- Don’t buy secure software in response to unexpected pop-up messages or emails, especially messages that claim to have scanned your computer and found malware. Scammers send messages like these to try to get you to buy worthless software or to break into your device. Also, never accept or install any programs that you don’t recognize or didn’t request.
Use Antivirus Software
The bad guys constantly develop new ways to attack your devices, so your security software must be up-to-date to protect you against the latest threats. Set your security software, operating system and web browser to update automatically so you always have the most current versions and system patches.
Make Regular Data Backups
Devices fail and if they’ve been breached, they may need to be reset to factory settings. Regularly backup your devices to keep from losing important data like photos, videos, contacts and email.
Remove Your Data
Remember to remove the data from your PC or device before you dispose of it, give it away or sell it.
- Start by backing up all your information so you can access it on your new device.
- Log out of all accounts and apps.
- Delete stored passwords, information and media.
- Restore the device to factory settings.
- Remove any SIM and SD cards.