Important: On January 14, 2020, Microsoft ended support for Windows 7. Computers running Windows 7 will still function but Microsoft will no longer provide the following:
- Technical support for any issues
- Software Updates
- Security updates or fixes
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has warned against performing internet banking, emails, or any “sensitive” account access from using with Windows 7.
NCSC, the public-facing arm of the cyber spy agency, said that devices still using the operating system after that date will become increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks as the tech giant stops patching weaknesses in its product.
For any computer you use for online banking, shopping or similar activities, follow these suggestions:
- Maintain active, up-to-date antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall protection. If your antivirus program indicates a virus found that cannot be removed, contact a computer repair specialist to have the virus removed.
- Install operating system and software updates (i.e. “patches”, “service packs”) as soon as possible.
- Use strong passwords that contain:
- alpha/numeric characters and symbols
- upper and lower case characters
- minimum of 8 characters but longer is recommended
- use special characters (for example: #$-!%^&*)
- no words or names that can be found in a dictionary
- Change your password regularly.
- Don’t use the same ID and PIN/password for every online account you have.
- Never share your password or login information with anyone.
- Never bank or shop online using computers at kiosks, cafes, unsecured computers or unsecured (public) wireless networks.
- When exiting an online banking session, always use the log out function and close the browser window.
- For the ultimate in protecting your financial data, computer security experts recommend that you create a separate user profile on your computer that is only used for purchases and financial transactions and is not used for any internet browsing. Better yet, purchase a dedicated computer or tablet that is used only for financial and online purchases. Protect this dedicated computer by not using it to browse the internet and by not allowing any downloads.
For more information about online banking security, refer to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website OnGuard Online. OnGuard Online provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.