Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Protect your savings

Victor Habbick/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Victor Habbick/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the last year or so, large companies around the world have taken a major blow at the hands of cyber hacking groups. Norway’s Statoil, SONY Pictures, JP Morgan, and Orange France are just a handful of the companies whose security systems were compromised and led to the eventual, if not immediate, disclosure of client’s personal and banking information.

Most recently it was uncovered that nearly $1 billion had been stolen from various worldwide banks and financial institutions between 2013-2015 by the hacker group, Carbanak. And while the security of your private information entrusted to a bank or large-scale company is completely out of your hands, you can prevent that information from being leaked from your own personal computer —at least, with the right software.

One of the simplest ways to prevent unwanted access to your private information is by downloading a password manager. According to PC Magazine, one of the most common causes behind a hacking incident is a weak password. Password managers not only store all of one’s passwords in a safe, encrypted location, they can also generate stronger, more secure passwords such as ‘hd28%M1C4$’ which, although difficult to remember, can then be copied from the manager and pasted whenever needed; thus removing the need for memorisation.

Additionally, many of the programmes offer a smartphone app that provides the same amount of security with the convenience of constant accessibility. LastPass 3.0, Password Box Premium, and Norton Identity Safe are free and have all received high ratings by both customers and technology professionals.

Next in the protection arsenal are antivirus programs and security suites. While antivirus programs will scan your computer for viruses, worms, and trojans, it can only protect your machine from those that antivirus has identity signatures for. However, because cyber-criminals are constantly tweaking the composition of viruses, an antivirus program alone can only do so much. It is when it’s part of a security suite that your personal information is at its safest and most guarded. The best security suites include not only an antivirus program, but antispam, firewall, and phishing (fraudulent website) protection — all of which [together] defend your system from being breached by various types of infectors.

Security suites are on the pricier side, however they’re cheaper than having your privacy compromised and your bank account drained. Customers and technology professionals have highly rated Bit Defender (free), AVG Antivirus (free), and Sophos Antivirus (free) if you’re searching for a singular antivirus programme, and Norton Internet Security (€70.12), McAfee Internet Security (€70.12), and Comodo Internet Security 8 (free) if you’re looking for a full security suite.

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