In addition to the above measures, you have a responsibility to maintain your own Internet security. There are a number of easy methods to protect your personal data and improve the security of the computer(s) you use to access your personal information:
- Create strong User IDs and passwords.
When creating your User ID and password make sure you choose a User ID and password that is not easily guessed by others. A few suggestions:
Make it lengthy. Each character that you add to your password increases the protection that it provides many times over. Your password must be 8 or more characters in length; 14 characters or longer is ideal.
Combine letters, numbers and symbols. The greater variety of characters that you have in your password, the harder it is to guess. Other important specifics include:
The fewer types of characters in your password, the longer it must be. A 15-character password composed only of random letters and numbers is about 33,000 times stronger than an 8-character password composed of characters from the entire keyboard. If you cannot create a password that contains symbols, you need to make it considerably longer to get the same degree of protection. An ideal password combines both length and different types of symbols.
Use the entire keyboard, not just the most common characters. Symbols typed by holding down the "Shift" key and typing a number are very common in passwords. Your password will be much stronger if you choose from all the symbols on the keyboard, including punctuation marks not on the upper row of the keyboard, and any symbols unique to your language.
Not sure how secure your current password is? Check it out at the Password Meter: http://www.passwordmeter.com
Use words and phrases that are easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess. The easiest way to remember your passwords and pass phrases is to write them down. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing wrong with writing passwords down, but they need to be adequately protected in order to remain secure and effective.
In general, passwords written on a piece of paper are more difficult to compromise across the Internet than a password manager, Web site, or other software-based storage tool, such as password managers.
- Keep your computer updated.
Software manufacturers are always improving their programs with updates and patches. By keeping your system up-to-date you can take advantages of system security repairs.
- Protect your wireless network.
More and more users have wireless networks installed in their office or home. While these networks create flexibility they also open your computer to possible security threats. Below is a list of steps you can take to secure your WI-FI networks (for specific instructions, please contact your wireless network provider or manufacturer):
- Change default administrator password and usernames
- Turn on WPA / WEP encryption
- Change the default SSID
- Enable MAC address filtering
- Disable SSID broadcast
- Assign static IP addresses to devices
- Enable firewalls on each computer and router
- Periodically run antivirus software.
By keeping your computer clean of hostile viruses, you can reduce the risk of important personal information being stolen and sent to the wrong hands. In addition, make sure you update your antivirus definition files often.
- Be wary of "phishing" scams from unknown entities pretending to be Prudential.
"Phishing" is a form of Internet fraud that aims to steal valuable information such as credit cards, Social Security numbers, User IDs and passwords. A fake website is created that is similar to that of a legitimate organization, typically a financial institution such as a bank or insurance company. An email is sent requesting that the recipient access the fake website (which will usually be a replica of a trusted site) and enter their personal details, including security access codes. The page looks genuine, because it is easy to fake a valid web site. Any HTML page on the web can be modified to suit a phishing scheme.
Phishing emails are often sent to large lists of people, expecting that some percentage of the recipients will actually have an account with the real organization. The term comes from "fishing," where bait is used to catch a fish. In phishing, email is the bait.
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Not sure about an offer? Read more about fraud schemes using Prudential's name: