Protecting Yourself Online
Avoid Online Risks
For most people, the internet is a part of our daily lives. It provides us access to news, information and entertainment, and helps family and friends stay connected.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals and hackers use the internet to steal information and money. Any time you go online, you may come across computer viruses or other malware – and sometimes hackers will send you emails to try to steal your information.
Below are some tips to help keep you secure while you’re online.
Top Prevention Tips
- Never reply to emails asking for personal information, like user IDs, passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers or bank account information. Never send your sensitive information to others in an email, over social media or through any other unencrypted or unsecure channel.
- Don’t open attachments you’re not expecting, or if you don’t know the sender. Attachments can contain viruses or other malware, and if you open them, they can self-install themselves onto your computer.
- Install antivirus software and firewall program to protect your computer. While Midco does not recommend any specific software, there are many programs available – either online or through software retailers.
- Keep your operating system updated. Both Microsoft™ and Apple® issue periodic updates to their operating systems to fix newly discovered security flaws.
- Be sure to keep other software products such as Adobe Reader® and Adobe Flash® updated as well. Most vendors provide information to help you make this process automatic.
- Monitor your home wireless network, and be sure only the people in your household are using it.
- If you use a wireless router not purchased or leased from Midco, be sure you change the default admin password and configure it to use an encryption method such as WPA/PSK or WPA2. You can find information on how to make these changes on your router manufacturer’s website or in their user manuals.
- Always change default usernames and passwords on retail consumer devices that you connect to your network (such as security cameras, printers, smart appliances and other devices). Bad actors are regularly scanning to try to access unsecure home devices – and they know default equipment logins. Changing device username and passwords will help prevent them from gaining control of your devices and information. Follow your retail device’s user guide for instructions on changing default logins and disabling universal plug and play (UPnP).
Note: Midco will NEVER ask you for account information over email. If we need to update your account, we will send a letter to the address on your account and ask you to contact us. If you receive an email that looks like it’s from Midco asking for account or personal information, contact us immediately.
In general, if a request for information is unusual, unexpected, doesn’t make sense, or sounds too good to be true, it may be spam.
If you doubt whether an email is legitimate, call the organization you believe sent you the email to verify that it really came from them. Don’t use the contact information provided in the email. Instead, open a browser and go to the company’s website directly to find contact information, to make sure you’re contacting the real company.
Keep your accounts secure by following these tips for secure passwords.
- Periodically change the passwords for your various accounts – especially bank account logins, email accounts, and shopping accounts that store your credit card information.
- Never create passwords that contain real words. Instead, have passwords that include multiple letter, numbers, capitalization and symbols (if allowed).
- Never share your passwords with anyone. If you must, go in and immediately change your password afterward.
- Do not use the same password for multiple accounts – especially passwords for banking, finance or health website accounts.
A firewall blocks hackers from getting into your computer and stealing personal information. It’s different than a virus protection program, which only screens for computer viruses. Firewalls block hackers from attempting to scan your network and find open ports to get to your information.
There are hardware and software versions of computer firewalls. It is relatively inexpensive, and we recommend you install a firewall to protect your network.
The best way to avoid viruses is to never open attachments in your email. While Midco provides free virus scans of incoming and outgoing emails on all Midco email accounts, that’s only one level of protection – and it does not apply to email through other providers, like Gmail or Yahoo. We also cannot scan CDs, external hard drives, flash drives, and other devices you may connect to your computer.
We recommend you install a firewall and antivirus software on your computer in order to help protect you from getting viruses. While Midco does not endorse any specific programs, they are available in most computer retailers and online.