Protecting personal information extends beyond the Web, to mobile devices

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Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 8:00 pm

(ARA) - For most people, it is rare to go a day without going online or using a mobile device. While having access to the information you want and need makes life a lot easier, it's most important to use the Web wisely.

Today, keeping personal information safe is a concern for virtually anyone using a computer or a mobile device to access the Internet. Given the fast pace at which technology develops, staying up to date on the latest ways to protect yourself is vital to guarding your personal information.

Keith Gordon, Security, Fraud and Enrollments executive at Bank of America, which was named "Best in Class" for security and prevention for seven consecutive years by Javelin Strategy & Research, answers some common questions about how to keep your online information safe:

Q: What can I do to protect my online accounts and personal information from hackers?

A: Protecting your personal information is as easy as keeping all your passwords private. Create different passwords for your various online logins to guard against hackers gaining access to several of your accounts with one passcode. Using a variety of strong passwords (consisting of letters and numbers) helps to keep your information as safe as possible.

Q: How often should I run an antivirus scan to ensure my computer is virus free?

A: Keeping up with the latest antivirus programs ensures a safer, virus-free computer. Based on your antivirus program's security settings, you might need to manually scan for virus threats - aim to do so about once per week. Bank of America Online Banking customers receive McAfee Internet Security free for 12 months, which helps keep customers' PCs safe from viruses. Like McAfee, most antivirus programs run automatic updates continuously via the Internet on your personal computer.

Q: When should I update my mobile phone security and software?

A: Mobile phone manufacturers regularly release software updates to fight viruses, fix issues and enhance reliability, so make sure to check for updates about once a month to keep your phone software up to date. Remember that you may need to sync your mobile phone with a computer to ensure that it has the latest in security protections.

Q: What is an easy visual clue I can search for to guarantee a website is secure for conducting transactions (banking, shopping, etc.) online?

A: Not all sites are secure for conducting financial transactions. When accessing email or providing personal and private information via a Web browser, look for addresses beginning with https://, which means that your information is secure. If you are using a public WiFi network, be careful of the type of business you conduct while sharing the network and adjust the security settings on your phone, tablet and/or computer to limit who can access your device.

Q: What is the best way to ensure that financial transactions done via my mobile device are secure?

A: If you conduct your banking needs on a smartphone, you should only use the official app provided by your bank. When using Bank of America's Mobile Banking App, account information is never stored on a mobile device, giving you peace of mind in case it is misplaced. It is also important to lock your mobile phone with a password for an additional layer of protection.

Knowing how to safeguard yourself from privacy risks while surfing the Web is essential. By following these tips and frequently checking for new technological advances in information protection, you'll help keep your personal data secure. Visit bankofamerica.com/security to learn more.

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