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Information Security professionals recommend the following steps to protect your home personal computer: antivirus software and security patches.

Viruses can infect a home or business computer in a variety of ways and may severely damage your computer or gain access to sensitive information. Obtaining, installing and keeping antivirus software as well as keeping security patches up to date is your best defense for protecting your computer against viruses, worms and trojans.

Spyware Detection Software

Spyware applications collect information about a user without his or her knowledge and report that information to a third party. Certain forms of spyware can track keystrokes or intercept sensitive and confidential information about an organization or user, including passwords, account numbers and other identifying data. When collected, the information can be sent back to the unauthorized party without your knowledge. Obtaining, installing and keeping spyware detection software up to date is your best defense for protecting your home computer against spyware.

Security Patches

Organizations that actively manage and use software patches can reduce the chances that the vulnerabilities in their systems can be exploited; in addition, they can save time and money that might be spent in responding to vulnerability-related incidents.

Patches are additional pieces of code that have been developed to address specific problems or flaws in existing software. Vulnerabilities are flaws that can be exploited, enabling unauthorized access to systems or enabling users to have access to greater privileges than authorized. Timely patching of software is generally recognized as critical to maintaining the operational availability, confidentiality, and integrity of systems. Failure to keep operating system and application software patched is one of the most common problems.

Visit Microsoft's Security Page to view recent patches, security updates and information regarding online fraud.

Create Hard To Guess Passwords

Acceptable passwords should contain a minimum of 9 characters and contain a combination of at least 2-3 of the following types of characters: alphabetic, numeric, or special characters (e.g., &$@!). Passwords should be free of consecutive identical characters, all numerical or all alphabetical groups. Change your password every 45 days.

Online UserID & Password Selection

Your UserID and password are the keys to access your online banking account. Don't share these with anyone. Select UserID & passwords that are not easily guessed by someone else. Don't use Social Security numbers as identification, as they may be easily obtained by a fraudster. Remember to change your password periodically.

Personal Firewall and Router

Install a personal firewall or router to shield cable and DSL modem connections from the Internet.

Special Security Feature

Don't Be An Online Victim: View a multimedia presentation produced by the FDIC that can help consumers protect themselves from identity theft.

Macromedia Flash Player is required to view this presentation. The latest version of Macromedia Flash Player can be downloaded at www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer.

Additional Information: Online Fraud

Visit our Consumer Alert page for additional information on online fraud, tips to protect yourself and contact resources in the event your personal information is compromised. Click Here

Serving the Yakima and Kittitas Counties of Washington since 1962