"Before installing any update you receive, make sure it is legitimate, especially if it is emailed to you," said Benardo.
If you bank online, check your deposit accounts and lines of credit at regular intervals to spot and report errors or fraudulent transactions, just as you would review a paper statement.
Online banking makes it easier and faster to monitor your accounts.
Don't use the same password for different accounts because a criminal who obtains one password can then log in to your other accounts.
Keep your user IDs and passwords secret, and change them regularly.
"Think about all of the access points to and from your computer — such as Internet connections, email accounts and wireless networks," said Michael Benardo, manager of the FDIC's Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section. Otherwise, it's like leaving your front door wide open while you are away so that anyone could come in and take what they please." Consider these strategies.
Take extra precautions for logging into bank and other financial accounts.
Make sure to log out of financial accounts when you complete your transactions or walk away from the computer.
Consider using a separate computer solely for online banking or shopping.
Also be sure to set the software to update automatically so that it can protect you from the latest malware. A firewall is a combination of hardware and software that establishes a barrier between your personal computer and an external network, such as the Internet, and then monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic.
In simple terms, a firewall acts as a gatekeeper that helps screen out hackers, malware and other intruders who try to access your computer from the Internet.
Malware can enter your computer in a variety of ways, perhaps as an attachment to an email, a downloaded file from an infected website, or from a contaminated thumb drive or disk.