Protecting your personal information during tax time

Good Morning CT at Nine

When was the last time you changed your passwords? Tax season is the perfect time to think about it!

CEO OF Evernet, IT and Cybersecurity expert Eric Buhrendorf shares his tips for safeguarding your information online.

What are the steps businesses and individuals should take to protect themselves online?

* Have a relationship with a trusted security resource. For businesses, it’s the IT consultant that is available per diem or contract. For the individual – we have many home users who we support per diem or walk in to the local computer repair shop and strike up a relationship. Get someone’s email address and use them as a resource.

* Be cynical. Question everything and everybody making a request for you to provide information ESPECIALLY PASSWORDS!

* Be hesitent to open or click on ANYTHING in an email even if it looks like a trusted source. Go to that content through other means that were not solicited. If you get a link from your bank in an email, close your email and go to the banks website on your own and seek out that same information. If it’s not there, try calling them to verify it. If they can’t verify it, it’s likely a phishing hack.

* Educate yourself. Businesses should have regular training sessions by a security professional. Individuals should take the initiative to follow tech blogs and periodicals to stay abreast of new risks, helpful tips, and best practices.

* Keep all software updated.

* Run supported software. For example, Microsoft stops supporting older versions and they no longer support Windows XP.

* When buying anything online or sending sensitive info make sure the site is secure with a https designation.

What should people be on the lookout for during tax time?

* Any notices of urgent response, late notices, anything dire sounding.

* Don’t click on ANY links sent to you. Don’t take any calls from anyone suspected of being from an official agency. Any soliciations simply take note of them and then on your own time, reach out to the agency in question and inquire about the call.

What shoudl we consider when it comes to setting passwords?

* Hackers are taking the usernames, emails, and passwords from one hack of one company and testing the same credentials at many other companies and for those people who use the same password for every account, they are highly vulnerable.

* Set unique passwords for all of your accounts.

* Create strong passwords. Attacks that are automated and literally try every word in the dictionary against your password. Use a password generator like the free at LastPass. This will ensure that the length and complexity is appropriate.

* Manage your passwords. How do you remember all those passwords? Use a password management process. LastPass also provides a tool called a Password Manager you can install on all your devices.

* Change Passwords at least twice a year and definitely once a year. Use your birthday month as the time to change your password reminder.

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