Secure your devices to safeguard your data

This was originally published on Monday, July 22, 2013, in the Pacific Daily News.  Click here to subscribe to the PDN.

We live in a wired world. Technology makes everything convenient. We can use our smartphone, a tablet, a netbook, a notebook, laptop, or a traditional desktop to get our personal information or bank statement at home or on the go within seconds of requesting for it. Keep your information safe and your devices secure.

• Use security software — Install anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and a firewall to all your computers. These programs can protect against malware that can harm your computer and compromise your personal information. Run a scan on your computer and update the programs frequently.

• Attachments — Always scan for a virus when opening an attachment from an email. Never click on a website link or open files from someone you do not know. If you do know them but the email seems odd, email them to ask if it was sent by them.

• Wi-Fi — Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi or a public wireless network at hotels, coffee shops, libraries or airports. These areas are easy for thieves to get a hold of your information. Set your computers to the highest security setting and set the properties of the wireless network to “public.”

• Laptop security — Try not keep financial records on your laptop. Do not save passwords for your bank accounts, online shopping websites or other websites where your credit card number or other personal identification is stored. Use a password to lock your device or make any changes to the security settings and always log off when you are done using your device. There are apps for your mobile phone, tablets or other devices that can track them when they are lost or stolen. Some will even let you send a message to the device, lock it, or erase all information off the device.

• Privacy policies — All policies should be read when doing business with an online company. They may be long and complex, but it will be worth it. Some companies will let you print the policy. If you don’t understand the policy or do not agree with it you may want to do business elsewhere.

Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 20 years of experience in retail banking and with financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at



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