General Computer Security
In order to minimize your risk of being a victim of fraud or identity theft, follow these tips to keep personal information safe:
- Update your virus protection software regularly. Typically, virus protection software updates are released once a week and will install automatically.
- Use a personal firewall. A software-based firewall is suitable for personal use, and there are some free (and helpful!) ones too. You can also use a hardware-based firewall. They are more expensive, but more versatile.
- Ensure automatic updates are turned on for your computer's operating software (for example Windows® operating system) and web browser (for example Internet Explorer®).
- Back up your data regularly.
- Use a secure browser that encrypts the data you send over the Internet. When submitting any type of personal data, look for the "https" or "lock" in your browser's address bar to ensure your information is secure during the transaction.
- Information regarding maintaining access
- Guidelines on use of your personal information
- Not sending any information online unless you are certain that you know the requestor. Learn how to protect yourself from "Phishing and Email Scams."
- Never download files or attachments from the web when accessing websites, unless you are certain of their authenticity.
Permanently Deleting Files
When you delete a file on your computer, it is not gone forever. The information still exists on your hard drive until it is overwritten by new data. Identity thieves can retrieve personal information from your hard drive after you sell or donate your computer. A proper electronic file disposal procedure will make the information unrecoverable.
While not endorsed by BMO Harris Bank, below is a list of tools that can help you dispose of digital information permanently: