How You Protect You
Most traditional computer systems, like the Windows Operating System and even the Internet itself, were originally designed to DO things, not to DO things SECURELY.
One can hardly fault this philosophy, because at the time of development, functionality and not security was the primary goal. ALL computer programs, be they Windows, Apple, Android or others are fundamentally binary ("1"s and "0"s) in construction and operation and are inherently susceptible to compromise. Just as there is no perfect person, completely impervious to all sickness and human failings, there is no flawless computer system or program. It is imperative that you understand there is no magic bullet that will keep your information secure, on ANY computer system be it ours, Wells Fargo, US Bank, or even the New York Stock Exchange and the US Military. However, the combination of good security software AND YOU, the individual, makes a formidable team that can successfully safeguard your data, your money and your privacy. YOUR behavior online and YOUR diligence in keeping your electronic well maintained are critical aspects of security. The Bank is doing everything it can to protect your data; help us help you!
Your behavior online and with your electronic device(s) is one of, if not THE most important aspects of good security. While many Bad Guys are fundamentally lazy (that's why they're bad guys...to them, it's easier than working), it doesn't mean they are not intelligent. Many hackers are nothing more than 21st century con-men: they gain your confidence (and access to your money and information), tricking you by pretending to be something they're not.
There are numerous e-mail scams. Some claim you've won the lottery or that a cousin of the sender has been injured in Europe and needs money for life-saving surgery; others want you to verify information immediately or your debit card will be de-activated/account closed. These cases, the fraudster presents you with a serious problem and a sense of urgency to DO SOMETHING NOW. In other instances, you may receive an email with an attachment purporting to be pictures of a celebrity or a images of a recent news-worthy item.
When you see these kinds of emails, delete them. DO NOT click on the links and DO NOT open the attachments! The links route your Internet browser to sites that contain malware (often undetectable by your anti-virus) that is downloaded into your system. The attachments can contain malware or programs that open "back doors" for the hacker to remotely access your computer.
If you get a pop-up that sports an FBI or Windows (and other software) logo, telling you that certain images or malware have been detected on your computer and "Click Here" or "Call this Number" to pay a fine or download software to get them removed, DO NOT do it! This is a more recent tactic that Scamware. Some malicious programs (Ransomware) completely lock down your computer!
If you do get Scamware or Ransomware on your system, NEVER call the number, click the link or pay the ransom to get the program "cleaned" off of your computer. The Bad Guys will just take your money and pretend to let your system resume normal operation. In fact, they will probably just put more malware on it. If you are infected, it may take a professional to remove the malware or you might be able to use your anti-virus program emergency boot procedures to remove it. No matter what, DO NOT give the hackers your information.
Finally, be careful how you browse the Internet. It is an exceedingly dangerous place, and your computer can become infected by merely visiting a website. Use caution and diligence; if visiting a site or clicking a link from a Google search doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right. Don't do it.
Be sure your computer system is running some sort of Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware package. There are many options available; some are free and others require payment for the service. Irrespective of the program you choose, be sure it is updating virus definitions (updates that tell the AV/AM software about the latest known viruses or potentially dangerous behavior on your computer) regularly. A common mistake is not renewing an AV/AM subscription. While the software will continue to run in many cases, it will not have access to the latest data, putting your computer at greater risk of compromise.
While AV/AM is very important, it is not a magic bullet that will protect you against hackers! Remember to do your part, too!
All Operating Systems (OS), from Windows to Apple to Android and others, periodically release software updates. Most of the time, these updates contain security patches that fix vulnerabilities and help protect against hackers. Depending on the OS and your individual settings, these might update automatically or may require interaction from you. It is important to apply updates in a timely fashion.
Application of third party patches (that is, non-operating system software like Adobe Reader, Java, etc.) is a critical step that is often missed. Hackers LOVE to exploit vulnerabilities in application software, so keeping these patches up-to-date goes a long way towards keeping your system secure.
System Hardening involved the removal of all unnecessary/unused software. Many devices come with a lot of programs on them that you do not need and will not use. Uninstall these, but be careful in this process because you might be using one without realizing it!
Web Content Filter
This defense mechanism tends to be very under-utilized. Web Content Filters block access to websites based on category. For example, they can be configured to block access to pornographic or online gambling sites. Many of the better filters can also be configured to block access to "Uncategorized" sites, that is, sites that haven't been vetted for legitimacy. While malware can reside on legitimate sites (they get hacked, too), blocking un-vetted sites is a good step towards better online security.