Going into the New Year, we all like to have the latest products and accessories in our possession to make the next 12 months a success. For some, this may include having the most stylish clothes, but it should also include employing the most current and advanced security measures on electronic devices to help protect against potential identity theft.
Anyone who is familiar with using a personal computer is probably not a stranger to the update alerts that pop up incessantly warning you about expired software or available upgrades. Although any kind of pop-up message can be annoying, these warnings are implemented for the benefit of your personal safety. Just beware of mindlessly clicking on ones that pop up when you're online — they may actually be fake updates that are waiting to deliver malware to your computer.
Stay ahead of the game when protecting yourself from a hacker
Out-of-date software can be extremely vulnerable to computer hackers who have had plenty of time to crack codes and access information on your computer. For most programs, every update is a strengthening of security measures that are in response to a very real threat. Once a virus or a hacker is able to break through the firewalls of a program, the floodgates are essentially opened, allowing a bevy of potential identity thieves to access the files stored on your computer.
If you don't protect your hard drive, anything you have saved could be compromised
Should you keep any documents with personal information, such as your address, date of birth, Social Security number or passwords to any of your accounts on your hard drive, a hacker can use these to open up new lines of credit in your name. You should either avoid holding onto these kinds of documents or keep them continually protected.
Make sure you are signed up for automatic updates
If you have set up your operating system, your cyber security and your Internet programs to update regularly, you will be in a good position to combat thieves. Not only that, but regular updates keep your computer performing optimally. These programs modify themselves as soon as threats present themselves, so by ignoring the message you may just be inviting an identity thief to take advantage of you.
A smart thing to do is to check for updates on your own as often as possible, even if the program hasn't prompted you to download new software. Also, do your best to stay aware of potential viruses that are mentioned in the news or that may have affected your friends or coworkers. It may not seem like it, but by protecting your computer you are also protecting your credit score, and your identity.