Computers & Phones
We have created a secure channel to communicate with our members, but you need to do your part by maintaining that your computer is up-to-date and virus-free.
Your computer’s operating system needs to be up-to-date in order to defend itself from viruses and malicious software (malware). If one part of your operating system develops a virus, it leaves holes in your PC’s security defenses and compromises the safety of the information contained in your computer.
Keeping your software up-to-date is one of the most important ways of staying safe online because it is much harder for viruses to infect an updated operating system and software. Hackers are targeting operating systems with new viruses all the time and software companies combat these efforts with security patches. You should always download the latest security patch as soon as it becomes available.
Your operating system lets you know when updates are available by notifying you there are new security features to download. You can also upgrade your operating system to the latest version available from the manufacturer; however, you should ensure your computer has sufficient hardware capacity to support an upgrade.
Remember to back up your data. To fully eliminate a virus that has infected your machine, the re-installation of your operating system may be required. Protect yourself against the permanent loss of important data by frequently backing up your files on an external hard drive so you’ll have the data should you ever have a problem with your operating system.
Web browsers are the gateways to the Internet. Similar to having an up-to-date operating system, upgraded browsers provide more features, stability and security. Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome or something else, stay safe online by using the latest version available.
The latest versions of web browsers have security features that can identify and block harmful and fake websites and pop-ups, and warn you if a site is flagged as unsafe. Some browsers also have a ‘Private Browsing’ feature, which conceals your browsing history from others.
We suggest you update your browser. Now.
A firewall protects your computer and home network from harmful websites and hackers. It sits between your computer and the Internet, scanning information that is being transmitted. It allows for safe browsing, while blocking unauthorized intrusions. Even though you may think you have no information of value on your PC, firewalls also stop your computer from being used by hackers to send malicious software to other computers.
Most computers now come with a firewall as part of the standard operating system. However, you can get the maximum protection for your computer by installing additional firewalls and ensuring they are kept up-to-date.
Protecting Your Smartphone
Browsing the web has never been easier – it’s all at your fingertips. Smartphones let you surf, shop or bank wherever you are.
Make sure your information stays secure while you’re on the move by following these smartphone-safe browsing tips:
- Activate your phone’s password feature, which locks the screen and prevents anyone but you from accessing your phone. Set up the password feature on your phone with a code that only you know.
- Don’t connect to unknown networks through Wi-Fi hotspots to make financial transactions.
- Beware of smishing – that’s phishing on phones through text messages. Never download media or images, or click on text-message links that come from unrecognizable people or phone numbers. Never provide personal details or any account details using any form of electronic messaging because this is not a secure form of communication. If you are unsure, please contact us.
- Download apps exclusively from the official source for your smartphone’s platform, such as the Android, Apple or BlackBerry stores.
- Install anti-virus software for your smartphone when available and update it frequently.
- Install location finding applications, which work with your phone’s built-in GPS. These applications allow you to locate and/or remotely erase (or “wipe”) data in your phone if it is lost or stolen.
- Update your smartphone’s operating system as soon as newer versions are available.