Every year hundreds of millions of dollars are stolen through cyber theft. Criminals and hackers devise complicated schemes and programs that can bilk you out of your money. Unfortunately they often do it in such a way that they skim mere pennies from millions of accounts so that no one person is any wiser (remember the algorithm from the movie Office Space?) In the end they make a lot of money, and your account is vulnerable for larger amounts to be stolen. Fortunately there are ways to protect yourself, even if you are driving truck the majority of the time. Here are 5 tips to help keep your cyber identity, and your bank accounts, safe from hackers.
Use Your Personal WiFi
Any time you access a public WiFi, you are at risk of having your information stolen. In fact, if you talk with someone that really knows what they are doing, they can set up in a coffee shop and use their computer to see exactly what you are doing online. You won’t even know they are watching your online activity. This means if you are accessing your bank account, they can see all of your information.
To prevent this, don’t access sensitive sites from a public hotspot. Wait until you are at home with your secured WiFi before you do that.
Secure Your WiFi
That means that you have to make sure that your wireless internet is encrypted. If you have an open network (that is one without a password) you are inviting just about anyone into your online realm. Even a simple password will help ward off unwanted visitors.
Setting up a password varies by company. Some make it very easy to establish a password for your internet, others seem to think we all know technical computer jargon. Here’s a great article to get you started, but you may want to call the customer service number for your router from the get-go.
Use Your Data Plan
Sometimes when you are on the road, you simply have to get online and access your bank account. While the ideal method is to call the bank and get the information needed that way, it may be after-hours and you can’t call. Instead of accessing their site with a public hotspot, use the data plan on your cell phone.
Most smart phones can access websites without a problem; and many of them can be set up as hotspots. You can use the data from your cell phone and access the internet from your computer. If you are an iPhone user, this article explains how to turn your phone into a hotspot.
Update Your Windows
Windows is constantly creating patches for security loopholes that they discover. Every time a hacker finds a way around one, the engineers at Microsoft patch that hole. But your computer is not going to be secure on its own. You have to do Windows updates to make sure that you have the latest security measures.
Most newer operating systems will have popups asking you to update your Windows. Don’t ignore these! It only takes a few minutes so go get a cup of coffee while your machine installs the updates and reboots.
Also read: Protect Yourself Against a Credit Card Data Breach
Watch What You Post and Where You Browse
No matter if you are buying online, posting to Facebook, or just browsing, be careful where you tread. Most of us know not to give out our personal information on public sites, but there are other ways to leak information.
Some websites will gather any information you put in, and they can install malware on your machine to track information you put in on other sites. Install MalwareBytes to prevent these little bugs from becoming accomplices to stealing your personal information.
Prevention is Key
Being on the road you make the most of truck stops that offer free WiFi; it’s faster and it’s free. While the majority of the time you will be safe, there are those moments when you could have your information stolen. It is far easier to prevent those thefts by not accessing important and private websites while using public WiFi. By taking a few minutes to read and apply the tips above, you can rest assured that your information is kept safe while you are driving your truck across the country.