Computer hacking, viruses and identity theft are increasingly worrisome to consumers and government officials. A single tweet can cause waves of reaction among individuals and groups, as illustrated by the spring report that President Obama was injured in an attack. Although it was a hoax, USA Today reported that the stock market “gyrated wildly” due to that single comment.
Crimes that take place via the Internet and computer systems are on the rise, and identity theft is tops among them. The number of reported identity theft cases each year is increasing, and the financial losses are staggering: Roughly 11.5 million new identity theft cases open each year, states Statistic Brain, and financial losses have reached $21 billion.
As the number of cyberterrorist attacks increase and the rate of identity theft continues to rise, it is important to learn ways to protect your assets and personal data from potential threats. Fortunately, you can protect yourself and your loved ones
Basic Safety Measures
Your personal computer plays a key role in keeping your data safe. Turn on your firewall and keep it running; it’s designed to keep hackers from getting into your system and stealing or deleting data.
A firewall is only one tool available to help you keep your computer safe. Put updated antivirus and anti-spyware software on your computer. Keep your software up-to-date, run spyware and scan regularly for viruses to help you find threats before they result in the complete loss of data on your system.
The FBI suggests you turn off your computer when it is not in use. Keeping it on throughout the day and night may provide convenience, but is also puts your computer at risk. When a hacker gets into your system, turning off the computer will sever the connection so that further damage is limited.
Keep Track of Your Accounts
It’s important you monitor your financial and online accounts for security breaches. Keep track of your information with regular credit checks, sign up for bank alerts and consider investing in an identity theft protection service. These watch for potential threats and warn you when something suspicious occurs. Reporting the theft early can help improve the ability to catch the criminal, Life Lock Identity Theft reports.
An annual credit report is also essential to protect your identity because it helps you find accounts that were opened with your Social Security Number that you did not authorize. Cybercrime does not necessarily mean your bank accounts will end up drained. The criminal might open a new credit card, take out a home loan or obtain other forms of credit in your name, which you will catch if you check your credit report.
Keeping your identity safe from cybercrime is not as hard as it might seem. With the right tools and regular checks into your credit, you can prevent the theft or catch it early.