Security Centre Articles

Protect Your Computer

By securing your home computer and engaging in good practices, you can reduce the likelihood of an attack occurring. The following tips will help lower your risk while you are online.

Install a firewall

Firewalls can either be a program or hardware that prevents hackers from gaining entry into your computer. Hackers operate by searching the internet similarly to telemarketers automatically dialing random phone numbers. Instead hackers will send electronic probes, or pings, to thousands of computers and waits for a response. Firewalls prevent your computer from responding to these random pings by blocking communications to and from sources you do not permit. Having a firewall is essential if you have a high-speed Internet connection, such as DSL or cable.

Some operating systems have built-in firewalls, therefore:

  • Be sure that your firewall is turned on.
  • Ensure your firewall is set up properly and updated regularly.
  • Check your online "Help" feature for specific instructions.

Use anti-virus software

Computer viruses are small software programs which are designed to destroy your personal data, slow down/crash your computer, or allow spammers to send e-mails through your account. Anti-virus software protects by scanning your computer and your incoming e-mails for viruses, and deletes them before it causes havoc.

  • Update your anti- virus software regularly so that the latest bugs circulating the internet would not become a threat to your system. Presently, most anti-virus software is preset to automatically update whenever you are online.
  • Always ensure your anti- virus software is constantly running and checking your system for viruses, especially if you are downloading files from the Web or checking your email.
  • Set your anti-virus software to check for viruses when you first turn on your computer.
  • At least twice a month schedule a whole system scan.

Use anti-spyware software

Spyware is software installed without your knowledge or consent. It secretly eavesdrop your online activities and collects personal information while you surf the Web. Examples of these are key loggers which record everything you type in, including passwords and financial information.

To identify an infected computer look out for the following signs, a large number of pop up ads appearing, a redirection to a website that you do not what to go to, or a sluggish computer.

  • Some anti- virus software programs have already included spyware protection. Check your existing anti-virus software documentation for instructions on how to activate the spyware protection features.
  • Purchase separate anti-spyware software programs and keep it updated and running regularly.
  • Only download software from sites you know and trust especially since there may exist the possibility of piggybacking spyware from many of the "free" programs offered.
  • Avoid clicking on links in pop-up windows or in spam e-mail.

Manage your system and browser to protect your privacy

Hackers are continuously trying to find weaknesses or holes in operating systems and browsers.

  • Update your system and browser regularly, and when available utilize automatic updating. Microsoft provides a Windows Update that downloads and installs software updates to the Windows operating system, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express. If your computer runs other operating systems like Macintosh, patching can be used to run updates automatically.
  • To ensure the safety of your computer and the information on it, check your system and browser security settings and set it at medium or higher. The tools or option menus allows you to make these changes.

Secure your wireless network

In a home wireless network certain precautions must be taken to secure against hackers.

  • Firstly you should aim to encrypt your wireless communication; you can do this by choosing a wireless router with an encryption feature and turn it on. WPA encryption is considered stronger than WEP. Your computer, router, and other equipment must use the same encryption.
  • Disabling the identifier broadcasting if your router enables it.
  • Change the SSID on your router and the pre-set administrative password. The SSID, or Service Set Identifier, is the name assigned to your Wi-Fi network and is normally the equipment maker's name. This is important since many hackers know the pre-set passwords on many wireless routers.
  • Change the way your computer connects to the network from automatic to manual.
  • Once the wireless network is not in use, consider turning it off.

Remember that public hot spots may not be secure.

  • - Refrain from accessing or sending sensitive personal information over a public wireless network.

You can contact Republic Bank's Call Centre to report any suspicious activity or to simply get information or guidance. You can reach our Call Centre at 471-555 or send an e-mail to: