Protect your computer with up-to-date security software
At a minimum, your computer should have antivirus and antispyware software and a firewall. You can buy stand-alone programs for each element or a security suite that includes these programs from a variety of sources, including commercial vendors or from your Internet Service Provider. Security software that comes preinstalled on a computer generally works for a short time unless you pay a subscription fee to keep it updated.
Antivirus software protects your computer from viruses that can destroy your data, slow your computer's performance, cause a crash or even allow spammers to send email through your account. It works by scanning your computer and your incoming email for viruses and then deleting any found.
Installed on your computer without your consent, spyware software monitors or controls your computer use. It may be used to send you pop-up ads, redirect your computer to web sites, monitor your Internet surfing or record your keystrokes, which, in turn, could lead to the theft of your personal information. A computer may be infected with spyware if it:
- Slows down, malfunctions or displays repeated error messages
- Won't shut down or restart
- Displays a lot of pop-up ads or displays them when you're not surfing the web
- Displays web pages or programs you didn't intend to use or sends emails you didn't write.
A firewall helps keep hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission. While antivirus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall is like a guard, watching for outside attempts to access your system and blocking communications to and from sources you don't permit.
Use security software that updates automatically
It's very important to keep your security software active and current. Security software protects against the newest threats only if it's up-to-date. That's why it is critical to set your security software to update automatically.
Keep your operating system and your browser up-to-date and learn about them.
Hackers also take advantage of web browsers (such as Firefox or Internet Explorer) and operating system software (such as Windows or Mac OS) that don't have the latest security updates. Operating system companies issue security patches for flaws that they find in their systems, so it's important to set your operating system and web browser software to download and install security patches automatically.
In addition, you can increase your online security by changing the built-in security and privacy settings in your operating system or browser. Check the "Tools" or "Options" menus to learn how to upgrade from the default settings. Use your "Help" function for more information about your choices.
If you're not using your computer for an extended period, disconnect it from the Internet. When it's disconnected, the computer doesn't send or receive information from the Internet and isn't vulnerable to hackers.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Zions Bank at 800-840-4999 (Mon. to Sat. from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun. from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. MT.).
Please note that this content is for informational and educational purposes only. Zions Bank assumes no liability for any adverse activity that may occur as a result of downloading or installing any manner of computer software.