Simple Tips for Securing Your Computer

December 16, 2019

Investors increasingly use their personal computers to access and manage their finances, making computer security more important than ever. Follow these simple tips from Andy Zolper, Chief IT Security Officer, to help secure your computer and protect your personal information.

Use two-factor authentication for your personal email.

Two-factor verification requires both a correct username/password combination and an additional piece of information – such as a code sent to a user’s mobile phone – for account access. Adding this second layer of security to your email account is one of the most effective improvements you can make. See the links below about enabling two-factor verification for common email services.

Use two-factor verification for your social media sites.

The same authentication process available for your personal email can also be used to secure your social media accounts. See the links below about enabling two-factor verification for common social networking sites.

Use two-factor verification for your online financial account access and any other personal finance sites.

Enabling two-factor authentication on your financial accounts serves to provide a second layer of security when it comes to protecting your money and your information. While most institutions are moving toward mandatory two-factor authentication enrollment, be sure to opt-in when enhanced security is optional.

Visit your financial institution’s official website support page to find directions on how to turn on two-factor authentication if not already enabled.

Check your computer security configurations.

Ensure that antivirus software is installed and up to date, the operating system and browser are patched with auto-update enabled, and personal firewall protection is turned on.

Select secure passwords.

Choosing strong/complicated passwords is important (8-12 characters; include a special character), but even more important is to never share passwords among sites. Username/password combinations that fall into the wrong hands will often be tried at multiple locations.

Use a password manager application to keep track of (and protect) your different passwords.

Don’t keep a document on your computer listing passwords, bank accounts, Social Security numbers, or other personal information – this is the first thing hackers will search for. Instead, use a password manager and enable two-factor verification for the application you choose.

Back up your personal data.

Whether you suffer a ransomware attack or simply spill coffee on your laptop, if you don’t have a backup of your personal data, you’re in big trouble. Use a Cloud-based service or a local device to back up your files.

Although the thought of protecting yourself against cybercrime can be daunting, these simple measures are a good first step in helping secure your financial assets and personal information.

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.

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