Spyware is an insidious application that sneaks into your computer practically unnoticed. It can arrive bundled with freeware or shareware, come attached in an email or through an instant messenger, or can appear unbidden when you click on a web page. This technology silently wheedles its way through your system, collecting valuable information about you and reporting it back to a third party. This allows hackers to take that sensitive data from your computer and leaves you with a sluggish computer and your private information compromised.
Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take to protect your computer and yourself against spyware. Here’s how:
Beware of Email Attachments – If you receive a suspicious email, never open any attachments inside. This also includes web links and files. You may receive emails that appear legitimate and safe, but it could be part of a scam or a phishing campaign. When in doubt, hit “delete.”
Install a Firewall and Anti-Virus Software – These applications will help protect your computer from spyware. Use the automatic update options to keep your computer up-to-date without lifting a finger.
Look Out for Pop-Ups – A pop-up window that appears from a web page can lure you into installing spyware onto your computer unknowingly. If you see a pop-up appear on your screen, never click “OK” or “agree.” Instead, just click the red “x” button on the corner of the alert to close the window.
Stay Away from Questionable Websites – Sketchy websites can be a breeding ground for spyware and other malware. Stay away from these sites. If you accidentally stumble upon one, exit as soon as you can and run an anti-virus scan, just to be safe.
Refrain from Using Public Computers – While there’s nothing wrong with using a computer for general searches in a library or café, you should never use one to pay your bills, check your account balance, or make any transactions. If you have no other choice but to use a public computer for these tasks, remember to log out of each website completely and log off the computer when you’re done.
Reliance Bank is committed to your financial security and works hard to protect your personal information at all times. Make sure to stop by the branch nearest you or find out more about us by visiting us online at www.reliancebankstl.com.