Public computers in libraries, Internet cafes, airports, and copy shops can be safe if you follow a few simple rules when you use them. Read these tips to help keep your work, personal, or financial information private.
- Don’t save your logon information: Always log out of websites by clicking “log out” on the site. It’s not enough to simply close the browser window or type in another address. Many programs (especially social networking websites, web mail, and instant messenger programs) include automatic login features that will save your user name and password. Disable this option so no one can log in as you.
- Important – Don’t leave the computer unattended with sensitive information on the screen: If you have to leave the public computer, log out of all programs and close all windows that might display sensitive information.
- Erase your tracks: Internet Explorer offers InPrivate browsing that leaves no trace of specific web activity. For more information, see Internet Explorer 9 Features: InPrivate Browsing. Internet Explorer also keeps a record of your passwords and every page you visit, even after you’ve closed them and logged out.
- Disable the feature that stores passwords: Before you go to the web, turn off the Internet Explorer feature that “remembers” your passwords. 1. In Internet Explorer, click Tools ￼, and then click Internet Options. 2. Click the Content tab, and then click Settings, next to AutoComplete. 3. Click to clear the check box for User names on passwords and forms.
- Delete your temporary Internet files and your history: When you finish your use of a public computer, you can help protect your private information by deleting your temporary Internet files. For information on how to delete temporary Internet files see delete webpage history.
- Watch for over-the-shoulder snoops: When you use a public computer, be on the lookout for thieves who look over your shoulder or watch as you enter sensitive passwords to collect your information.
- Don’t enter sensitive information into a public computer: These measures provide some protection against casual hackers who use a public computer after you have. But keep in mind that an industrious thief might have installed sophisticated software on the public computer that records every keystroke and then emails that information back to the thief. Then it doesn’t matter if you haven’t saved your information or if you’ve erased your tracks. They still have access to this information. If you really want to be safe, avoid typing your credit card number or any other financial or otherwise sensitive information into any public computer.
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T.H.I.N.K First because There’s Harm In Not Knowing
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*Identity Theft insurance underwritten by subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
Even at the best of times, surfing the Web involves a delicate dance between security and freedom. After all, while you have the freedom to visit any site in the world, the thought that your favorite website might be infected with malware can put a dent in your plans. And, as the recent furor over the NSA, Prism, and the federal government’s access to our online information has highlighted, when it comes to privacy on the Internet, nobody is completely secure.
For years, security experts have offered a more-or-less unchanging menu of advice. But do things like shredding your documents and changing your passwords really keep you safe? Bo Holland, founder and CEO of identity theft protection company AllClearID shared his thoughts on the most important moves for ensuring your safety … as well as the ones that aren’t quite as important anymore.
- Shredding: For years, security professionals have emphasized the importance of shredding your personal documents before you throw them out. But Holland notes that shredding isn’t as much of a priority as it used to be. “There aren’t nearly as many documents with personal information out there as there were even just two years ago,” he explains. “These days, it’s much easier to get your information off your computer.”
Strong Passwords: Passwords are your first line of defense against intruders. But, as Holland points out, even the most careful people sometimes have password breaches. “I’ve helped chief privacy officers from health care and security firms,” he notes. “If they’re getting hit, then anyone is vulnerable.” While Holland notes the importance of having a good password, he emphasizes that the most important thing is paying attention to password breach notifications. If you hear that one of your passwords may have been breached, he counsels, change it immediately. And, because many of your accounts may be linked, he notes, it’s not a bad idea to change the rest of your passwords as well.
Keep on Top of Updates: One piece of advice that you don’t often hear is to keep on top of software updates. But, Holland argues, updating your operating system, your software, and your security programs is one of the easiest and most important ways to ensure your security. Software companies spend a lot of time and money trying to stay ahead of online intruders — it only makes sense to take advantage of their work.
Double-Check Your Financial Institution: Even if you are convinced that your security is state-of-the-art and your password is unbreakable, it never hurts to double-check your most sensitive accounts. Holland suggests regularly checking your financial and credit card statements to ensure that there aren’t any inappropriate charges on your accounts.
Set E-Mail and Text Alerts: When a breach happens, a fast response can mean the difference between a minor annoyance and a major pain in the neck. With that in mind, Holland suggests talking to your financial institution about having transaction alerts placed on your account. Every time your account is credited with a transaction over a particular amount — $50, for example — your financial institutions will send you an e-mail or text notification. If it’s an expected transaction, you can discard the message; if not, you’ll be able to respond immediately.
Check Your Free Credit Report: Every year, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the reporting bureaus. Holland suggests taking advantage of this free service, noting that your credit report is a great way to track your outstanding debts and ensure that nobody is trying to open false accounts in your name.
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- ID Theft Protection includes 1 credit bureau monitoring (Your TransUnion℠ credit report is monitored continuously for new or suspicious activity. If new activity occurs, an alert is sent via email and text message, allowing you to confirm whether or not the activity is fraudulent).
- First Protection Checking* includes Score Tracker (Synthesizes your credit score from the three major credit reporting bureaus and reflects a historical perspective in a monthly trend report).
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*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the Bronze Tier. Click here to view full Rewards First program details, and click here to view the Tier Level Comparison Chart. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program. A $100 minimum deposit is required to open this account.
Identity Theft insurance underwritten by subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.