Look out for Paladin Security's tips series every Tuesday.
Following last month's Cybersecurity Special, and amidst concern from the Public Safety Department that Canada is becoming a digital launching pad and target of malicious cyber-activities as featured in last week's Security Top 5, below you will find useful tips from the Government of Canada's Get Cyber Safe campaign that provides Canadians with the information they need to protect themselves and their families against online threats.
As there is afake Western Union money compensation e-mail currently being circulated, today we will focus on Banking & Finance.
These days, many of us prefer the convenience of online banking as you can easily pay bills, check payments and transfer funds from anywhere - even on your mobile phone. Unfortunately, however, cyber criminals often take advantage of this, which is why it's so important to protect your personal information.
Cyber criminals know that financial institutions go to extreme measures to protect your financial information, and their chances of getting into these systems are slim. So they phish, spy and hack their way into your information from other sources, piecing together what they need to access your financial accounts. Once they're in, they can take out a loan, buy a car and even get a mortgage on a house.
Here are the Get Cyber Safe tips on how to ensure safe Internet banking and investing:
Your first course of action is to choose strong passwords for your banking and online investing accounts and keep them private.
Look for the lock symbol on the website or "https://" at the beginning of the URL ("s" for "secure") to be sure the site is encrypted.
Never allow "auto-fill" or "auto-remember" of your password or personal information.
Double-check that your anti-virus protection and web browser are both the latest versions, and update regularly.
Use a firewall and make sure it's set to "on" through the Control Panel.
As soon as you're done banking, close the browser window, clear the cache (delete browser history) and disconnect from the Internet by:
In Firefox, go to Tools > Clear Recent History In Internet Explorer, Go to Tools > Delete Browsing History In Chrome, go to the wrench icon in the top right hand corner. Under the Bonnet > Clear Browsing Data
When you're banking online, never use public Wi-Fi or public computers.
Remember that legitimate banks and businesses will never ask for personal information via e-mail.
Beware of "packet sniffing" - if more than one browser tab is open at a time, packet sniffer programs can potentially monitor:
Which websites you visit; What you look at on the site; Who you send e-mail to; What's in the e-mail you send; What you download from a site; What streaming events you use, such as audio, video and Internet telephony; and, Who visits your site (if you have a website)
Always enter the website address in the browser yourself - never use a link.
Review your account activity regularly and get in touch with your financial institution right away if you notice anything strange.
Be wary of online forums where false information can be circulated to manipulate the market for a particular security.
Some spammers use variations on a bank's name. When in doubt, call your bank and never click on links or attachments.
Read the Internet security guides offered by banks to stay up-to-date and look out for the latest scams.
When disposing of an old device, erase all personal data. Download software and erase the hard drive, or hire a professional.
Things to keep in mind while banking on the go:
Most banks provide apps for easy access to your information and complete transactions, but before you log on make sure to ask:
Is your wireless network secure? If you're picking up a wireless signal outside, you may not want to send sensitive information.
Is your mobile banking application actually from your bank? Be sure it's the real thing and not a copycat.
Have you installed anti-theft technology on your mobile device, and backed up your data?
Does your device automatically lock after a period of time? Avail of this feature and always use a strong password for your mobile device.
Have you stored passwords and banking information (branch, address) on your mobile device? Delete in case it falls into the wrong hands.
Look out for more great tips next week and, in the meantime, check out the Get Cyber Safe website that features a wealth of information on every facet of online security, from mobile to social networks and email.