It’s Morning Edition on KRPS; I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. Using a computer, tablet or smartphone on a daily basis is common for millions of Americans. Through these devices we either store or visit websites that have some of our most personal information so keeping any device that connects to the internet updated with the latest software is important so that you can protect yourself from being hacked. I recently spoke with Stephanie Garland of the Business Bureau who says that updating your browser or operating system may take a few minutes a day, but it is time well spent.
So this is important because this is your safety. This is where you log into your bank account, your credit union account, your transcripts for high school or college. Perhaps, you’re looking at your child’s transcripts or your grandkids transcripts. And this is all secure information that needs to be protected.Stephanie Garland
The ease of which we connect to the internet, some of us through numerous devices throughout the day perhaps give us a false sense of security regarding whether somebody else could access your personal information. It’s easy to close out an update prompt and say you’ll update your system or program another day, even if it only takes a minute. Stepahnie continues.
However and unfortunately sometimes we’re very busy in our lives and we don’t set aside time for the computer to update. And sometimes it can be a quick update like five minutes. And sometimes it can be a 40-minute update. And sometime it can be very difficult to tell the difference between the two. So what we want you to do at the Better Business Bureau, is especially, we’re partnering with the Cyber Security Infrastructure Agency. The CISA, along with the FBI in this. We want you to not click on any links you’re not familiar with.Stephanie Garland
Both the BBB and the National Cyber Security Alliance suggest that you consider the following online hygiene guidelines such as patching critical software issues immediately, also to use strong password and two-factor authentication, and to use pop-up ad blockers. If you do click on a link that you’re familiar with Stephanie says it could lead to any number of problems.
That can have ransom on it, it can have malware that could download on to your computer and you not even know it’s there, and it could take over your computer. So make sure your hovering over the links when you click on it and don’t click on something from somebody you don’t know. Keep your machine clean and stay up to date with software. Use strong authentication, you should consider using the two-factor authentication, where you have to take extra steps to verify. And of course regularly backup your system.Stephanie Garland
Also, consider changing your password on a more frequent basis or maybe for the first time ever. While the consequences of having your data and privacy being breached could cost you a considerable amount of resources, at the same time it costs very little to project yourself and possibly your business for problems online. Also, the next time you stay at a hotel or motel reconsider connecting to their free wifi network. A majority of the time the networks are unsecured for ease of use, which also makes it easier for those you want to access your personal information.
So the Better Business Bureau warns if you’re staying at a hotel for example or a motel, a place of logging, and there’s a free wi-fi that’s available to all we would urge you to take extreme caution when logging in. So don’t go ahead and log into your banking or credit card account. BBB wants you to realize that unfortunately there are hackers out there you can actually hack using the unsecured network onto your device.
So, if you carry a hotspot with you, or perhaps it’s on your phone, it might be a great idea to go ahead and activate it if you need to log in online if you’re not able to use an app on your phone to log into your credit union or bank account. So you brought up a very good point there, whether it’s two-factor authentication, hyper-links, looking at the links that are embedded in the emails, hovering over it. Whatever you do, all of these things will go into making sure that you are more secure, and that you’re keeping your finances, and your families information a lot more secure by doing these things.Stephanie Garland
Stephanie Garland, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield, Missouri.