How to Prevent Identity Theft

When someone gains or has access to your personal information and uses it to intentionally defraud you in any way, he/she is guilty of identity theft. Among a myriad of other disastrous outcomes, thieves may gain access to your banking accounts and/or existing credit cards, or obtain new lines of credit or loans in your name. Recovering from identity theft is expensive and it may require several years to return to your previous financial state. Taking steps to prevent unauthorized access to your personal information is the first line of defense against identity theft. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 8.6 million households had at least one person age 12 or older who experienced identity theft in 2010, rising from an estimated 6.4 million in 2006. Identity theft is on the rise and shows no signs of slowing, so it’s crucial for us as consumers to take precautions to help protect our personal information. The following 10 tips will help you better understand how to prevent identity theft: • Never carry your Social Security card. Your purse or wallet is not a safe place for this document. Never give out your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary. • Guard your PIN numbers and passwords. Never write a PIN on a credit/debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet. It is best to memorize all of your passwords, and frequent use will keep them fresh in your mind. • Use complex, unique passwords and change them frequently. Create a different password for each website or other security portal; do...

New Year, New Technology Threats

Considering how quickly technology advances, it is no surprise that with a new year come new technology threats. Among the top emerging technology threats for 2013, ransomware and cyber attacks on mobile devices stand out to cyber security experts. What is ransomware and how can you protect your mobile device from cyber attacks? Let’s take a closer look at each of these threats. What is Ransomware? Ransomware typically enters a computer when a user unknowingly downloads an infected file or links to a corrupt page. Once the download is complete, the ransomware blocks the user’s access to the computer, demanding that a random be paid in order to gain back this access. Unfortunately, even cyber criminals lacking advanced programming skills can use ransomware kits to easily lock down a user’s system and present him/her with an ultimatum to send payment or lose all of the data the system contains. How to Protect Your Computer Against Ransomware The idea of having to pay a hacker or lose all of your computer data is not a comforting thought, so here are several steps you can take to prevent your system from falling victim to ransomware: Don’t open spam email messages and never click links on suspicious websites. Keep your firewall turned on. Ensure that all of the software on your system is kept up to date, especially your anti-virus programs, and scan your computer regularly to detect any infections. If your computer has already been infected, Norton suggests that you not pay the ransom and instead, follow these instructions. 4 Ways to Protect Your Mobile Device Against Rising Cyber Threats As...