Secure your computer — Be sure to have a firewall installed and enabled on your computer. Use spyware and adware protection software. This software is designed to protect you against spyware or malware, which can extract private information from your computer without your knowledge. Set these programs to auto-update to avoid missing a critical update.
Use strong passwords on all your accounts — Use a minimum of eight characters and a mix of special symbols, letters, and numbers. Use separate passwords for each account, so that if one account password is breached, an attacker will not automatically have access to all your other accounts. Do not reuse your work password on other systems.
Secure your online transactions— When submitting your sensitive information, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar to ensure your information is secure during transmission. Also be sure that "https" appears in the website’s address bar before performing an online transaction. The "s" stands for "secure” and indicates that communication with the Web page is encrypted.
Do not reveal too much personal information online—The less information you post, the less data is available for a cyber criminal to use in a potential attack or scam.
Protect your laptop, smartphone, or other portable devices when traveling— Just as your wallet contains lots of important and personal information that you would not want to lose, so do your portable devices. Do not let them out of your sight! Never store your laptop as checked luggage. If there is a room safe available at your hotel, use it to securely store your devices. In addition, make sure you have strong passwords on these devices in case they are lost or stolen.
Be aware that public computers and public wireless access are not secure —Cyber criminals can potentially access any information you provide, such as credit card numbers, confidential information, or passwords. Do not conduct any sensitive transactions at the local free Wi-Fi site.
Understand if and how location data is used—Check to see if GPS location data is being stored when you upload pictures to your social media site from your mobile device, and disable it if you do not want the world to know exactly where the pictures were taken.
Do not email sensitive data—Beware of emails requesting account or purchase information. Delete these emails. Never email credit card information or other financial/sensitive information. Legitimate businesses do not solicit sensitive or confidential information through email.
Dispose of information properly—Before discarding your computer or portable storage device, ensure the data contained on the device has been erased or "wiped." Read/writable media (including your hard drive) should be wiped using Department of Defense (DOD)-compliant software.
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