Friday, February 7, 2014

Local News

The Privacy Revolution

Simple, practical security tips for mobile devices and wifi

Released by Tashon Ziara, Prospera Credit Union/Web photo

 

e live in a digital world. Technology allows us to work, communicate, learn and be entertained, wherever and whenever we choose. As our connectedness increases, however, so do the risks associated with the information that is accessible via the technology we use every day.

 

Threats to our personal privacy and security range from scams and malware aimed at our digital devices, to the loss or theft of those devices, both of which put our information at risk of unauthorized access.

 

February 6 is Privacy & Security Awareness Day in BC, an important opportunity to increase awareness about a range of privacy and security issues and offer some simple, practical advice on how to minimize exposure to these risks.

 

Why do we need greater privacy and security awareness? According to security experts, the growing popularity of smartphones and open Wi-Fi networks are making Canadians more vulnerable to online fraud and other forms of cybercrime. A global report released last fall by security software firm Symantec Corp. says the incidence of cybercrime in Canada has doubled from last year and the cost has risen to more than $3 billion per year. The profits that criminal organizations derive from cybercrime activities now exceed the profits associated with the illegal drug trade which means the potential for profit is great while the risk of conviction is low.

 

Here are three tips to help you use your wireless devices more securely:

 

1.      Be cautious when using Wi-Fi

Know what you’re connecting to and never connect to networks that you aren’t completely sure of, even if the name is strikingly similar to the network you want. Criminals will often put up wireless networks that appear to you as “Free WiFi” or use other cool sounding names. Also, many applications on your phone will send passwords and sensitive information in the clear (on Wi-Fi networks anyone with a little expertise can pick this information right out of the air), so don’t share personal or private information over public Wi-Fi networks. Remember to check your phone’s settings to ensure that it doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi networks automatically and turn off Wi-Fi on your phone when it’s not needed.

 

2.      Choose applications carefully

Free apps aren’t really free. Often free applications pay for themselves with ads, or sometimes even by grabbing and selling your data to third parties. Buying from your phone manufacturer or service provider’s app store will help provide a little protection, but be selective and cautious no matter what. Also, be aware that many free games will use techniques to trick users into making in-app purchases – look at your settings carefully to prevent these purchases or unexpected charges.

 

3.      Lock it or lose it

Never leave a mobile device unattended in a public place, thieves know there is valuable information stored in these devices and will use any unguarded moment to their advantage. Also, remember to use the passphrase or password lock feature on all your mobile devices to protect your information (and the information of all of your contacts) and keep the amount of confidential information stored on your laptop or other mobile device to the minimum needed to do your job.

 

Security is everyone’s responsibility. To view Prospera’s Online Security Policy, please visit: prospera.ca.

 

About Prospera Credit Union

Building on more than 65 years of history in British Columbia, Prospera Credit Union is proud to be a member owned co-operative enterprise with operations that extend from Vancouver to Kelowna. As a full service financial institution that prides itself on building relationships, we serve our members through sixteen branches; online and mobile banking; and a locally-based contact centre. Through our membership in The Exchange network, our members enjoy fee-free access to more than 2,300 ATMs across Canada.

 

Making life better for everyone in the communities we serve is important to us at Prospera. With an extensive community investment program devoted to supporting community-based organizations, events and the volunteers who make our communities stronger, Prospera makes a meaningful difference in the financial well-being of our members and our communities.

To learn more about our community investment programs, check out our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

 

 

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