FBI Phoenix wants you to take advantage of the new year to do some deep cleaning of not just your house, but of your digital devices. By keeping up with your “cyber hygiene,” it could help protect you from bad actors, and may help your device run more efficiently.
Taking the right security measures and being alert when connected are key ways to prevent cyber intrusions and online crimes. Here are tips on how to protect your computer:
Keep your Firewall Turned On – A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or even steal passwords or other sensitive information. Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers. The software is prepackaged on some operating systems or can be purchased for individual computers. For multiple networked computers, hardware routers typically provide firewall protection.
Install or Update your Antivirus Software – Antivirus software is designed to prevent malicious software programs from embedding on your computer. If it detects malicious code, like a virus or a worm, it works to disarm or remove it. Viruses can infect computers without users’ knowledge. Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.
Install or Update your Antispyware Technology – Spyware is software that is secretly installed on your computer to let others peer into your activities on the computer. Some spyware collects information about you without your consent or produces unwanted pop-up ads on your web browser. Some operating systems offer free spyware protection, and inexpensive software is readily available for download on the Internet. Be wary of ads on the Internet offering downloadable antispyware—in some cases these products may be fake and may contain spyware or other malicious code. Shop where you trust.
Keep your Operating System up to Date – Computer operating systems are periodically updated to stay in tune with technology requirements and to fix security holes. Be sure to install the updates to ensure your computer has the latest protection.
Be Careful what you Download – Carelessly downloading e-mail attachments can circumvent even the most vigilant anti-virus software. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know and be wary of forwarded attachments from people you do know.
If you are the victim of online or internet-enabled crime, file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) as soon as possible. Rapid reporting can help support the recovery of lost funds.
For the latest e-scams, warnings, tips, and current trends, visit IC3.gov.