Stay Safe Online

Posted on October 31, 2011. Filed under: Melissa Brandes |

Denmark State Bank is proud to offer our customers a wide variety of electronic banking products.   While all of these products are safe and secure to use, it’s up to YOU to keep your computer safe from attacks.  The following is a list of things you can do to help keep you safe online.

1. Select Your Credentials Carefully

When selecting Access IDs and Passwords you want to make sure you select something you’ll remember without writing it down, but something that another person couldn’t guess.  For example, don’t use your name, your spouse’s name or your child’s name.  You also want to avoid using any numbers that are public information such as phone numbers, street numbers or license plate numbers.  It’s also a good idea to avoid using words found in the dictionary.  Instead you should have a password that is at least 8 characters long and includes a mixture of numbers, letters and special characters (like * ! @ %).  Don’t ever share your credentials with anyone else, even those close to you.

 2. Install Windows Updates

To keep your computer protected, you should always apply the latest Windows updates.  Not only will you protect your computer from attack, but you will ensure that the applications you run will continue to work as designed.  Many Internet applications will not work unless your computer has the latest Windows updates.  And always make sure to download updates only from trusted sources.

3. Keep Third Party Applications Up To Date

With more and more people keeping their Windows operating system secure, the bad guys have turned their attention to other software.  For example, Adobe PDF files are now one of the most common means of attack.  Protect yourself by applying patches to your third party software such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, and Java.

4. Antivirus and Firewall

A firewall reviews incoming and outgoing data and decides if it was authorized by the computer operator or is part of an attack.  Use the built-in Windows firewall, or one of the excellent free third party firewalls such as Zone Alarm, Comodo, or Outpost.  Antivirus software inspects files that you acquire looking for known data patterns found in malware.  When the bad guys come up with something new, the antivirus software vendor sends out an update so that it can detect the new attack.  Make sure you have antivirus software installed and configured to update itself.

 5. Links in Emails

Do not click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails even if they appear to be from a friend or relative. If your friend’s password has been stolen, the thief can hijack their account and send you malicious spam.  If it is out of character for the sender or if you aren’t expecting it, don’t click on the link or attachment.  Instead, notify the sender to verify that it’s legitimate.

 6. Watch Out for Fake Antivirus Scanners

Some viruses masquerade as virus scanners, trying to fool you with a scary sounding “your system is infected!” message.  If you get such a message, close your browser and restart the computer if necessary.  DON’T click ok to let it scan.

 7. No Authentication Scheme is 100%  Foolproof

Don’t be over confident that your credentials can’t be compromised.  If you visit internet sites that you know to be unsafe, or accidentally click through one of the “your system is infected” scams, the bad guys may have installed hidden software on your computer that could watch until you visit a financial site, then either steal your credentials or create unauthorized transactions when you are logged in.  Practice safe computing.  It is one of your best tools in the fight against fraud and identity theft.

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