Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Fall 2017, Vol. 48, No. 3 - Page 20

by Mike Servidio, TCI Technology Consultants, Inc. TECH TIPS Nine Steps To Take Now To Be Certain Your Finances Are Protected Online It seems like we’ve been inundated over the past 6 months with rampant cybertheft. Target, Nieman Marcus, Yahoo and even Equifax. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, this is most likely the norm going for- ward and not just a blip on the radar. So, how can you stay protected online? While there is no way to absolutely, positively, 100% stay safe online, by taking these 9 steps, you will be as safe as possible. 1. Only Shop On Secure Websites. Be- fore you type your credit card into a website, ensure it is secure. Look for “https://” in the address bar of your web browser when you are checking out. You should also see a lock in the address bar of your browser. 2. Avoid Financial Transactions Over Public Wifi. You can’t guarantee that free or shared WiFi access is secure. Ok to connect for browsing the web, but avoid financial transactions on these connections. 3. Use A Secure Network For Financial Transactions. Protect your computer with a firewall, antivirus and anti-spy- ware software. 4. Setup Banking Alerts For Unusual Or Large Transactions. Ask your bank to notify you of any suspicious or large transactions. 5. Use Credit Cards Instead Of Debit Cards. Most credit cards offer better fraud protection, plus if money is sto- len from a debit card, then it has al- ready left your bank account. 6. Pick Complex Passwords. Use phrase acronyms and keyboard combina- tions. Never use repeat passwords or words in the dictionary for your finan- cial accounts. 7. Never Directly Answer Or Respond To An Email From Your Bank. Crimi- nals have become very adept at ap- pearing that they are a financial insti- tution when they are not. Never rely on links in emails to access your finan- cial accounts. 8. Install Available Security Updates On Your Computer, SmartPhone and Tablets. Many cybercrimes target known security holes on your com- puting devices. Stay up to date to stay secure. 9. Check Your Bank Balances And State- ments Regularly. Good ole-fashioned visual checks on your balances and a scan of your transactions are the best practice to be sure that nothing has slipped through the cracks. BATTLE OF WITS! Last contest, Brent Clayton outwitted us all with his “s’more billable hours” campfire caption. Members are invited to bring forth their truly dizzying intellect and join the battle of wits! Montpelier cartoon artist (and lawyer) Kathy Fechter has once again graciously provided us the above cartoon for our fierce competition. Submit your proposed caption to the above ‘judge’s leap’ cartoon to jeb@ vtbar.org. The deadline to submit your caption is December 1, 2017. 20 THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • FALL 2017 www.vtbar.org