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Be a Safe Driver on the Internet Superhighway

It’s no secret: America’s highways can be a dangerous place at times, even in the best of conditions. That’s why you have to be cautious on the open road – smart, alert and always vigilant. But how about when you’re not driving? Are you protecting yourself and your personal information?

Most drivers travel with laptop computers or tablets now, and smart phones are almost universal – great business tools, all of them. They help you stay connected and are excellent sources of information and entertainment.

You need to play it safe, though, so keep these simple tips in mind:

  • When not using a device’s Bluetooth capability, turn the feature off. This will extend battery life and shut down one possible entry point for cyber criminals.
  • Limit use of public, password-free Wi-Fi systems for online banking or checking personal sites. Most experts consider cellular networks – AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc. – more secure than public Wi-Fi. Think about investing in a mobile hotspot or a smartphone that can “tether” to your device for a faster, more-secure internet connection.
  • Stay current on software updates. This will help protect your device, and your information, from known weaknesses in the software.
  • Websites for financial transactions are mostly secure and encrypted. Check the web address. If it begins with the letters “https,” that’s good. It stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.” Be careful with personal information on websites where the address only begins with “http”.
  • Passwords are a hassle, but a necessary evil. Use them. And make sure your computer, tablet or smartphone is programmed to “lock” after a minute or two of being idle.
  • Use a simple, non-descript carrying case for your equipment. Thieves often prey on expensive luggage. A high-end computer case – looks good, feel great – is often a bull’s eye for a thief.

And that strange email from your cousin, the one with the “you won’t believe this” link? You’re smarter than that. Don’t click it. Delete it!