your bills online
Internet experts say people
will be ditching their haphazard filing systems
in the next few years in favour of organizing
their bills online.
The online method has
many advantages: viewing and paying bills,
sorting payments, checking your bank balance,
disputing charges quickly.
Thousands of Canadians have
signed up for e-billing. More companies are
trying to aggregate bills electronically
for consumers who don't want to check all
their accounts and memorize several passwords.
Banks are getting in on it. In Canada, clients
can pay bills issued by 4,000 companies through
their online banking services.
Banks are where most people
will be doing their e-billing because there
are almost no transaction fees. Public sector
sites and some private companies charge a
fee to pay fines and bills online.
a division of Canada Post, is an alternative
to the banks. The site collects bills for
one-stop payment. At least 250,000 people
use the site. Epost.ca is hoping to sign
up more companies to its current roster of
The majority of users
are young professionals and recent college
Check to see if there are any fees associated with online transactions.
Find out which companies the service
will allow you to pay bills to.
Make sure you are using a browser
with 128-bit encryption, a scrambler
that guards private information online.
Make sure your browser isn't saving
your password. Disable it under the
Tools or Settings heading of your
Clear you cached memory or temporary
Internet files and "cookies" and "history" folders
After completing financial transactions
online, logoff before continuing
other online activity. This may help
to protect your confidential data
(account numbers, passwords, etc.).
Make sure your computer's date
Choose passwords that are hard
to guess, combine with numbers. Change
the password on a regular basis.
Processing times can vary from bank
If you are going to do all
or some of your banking online, you need
to ensure that your computer is protected
from potential dangers like viruses.
Here is a top five must-have
list for your computer before you head
online. But it isn't enough to keep your
machine safe in this constantly evolving
internet environment. Following the top
five is a list of "safe practices" to help
minimize the threat to your machine and
software and update regularly.
There are viruses, Trojan horses and worms out there that change day
to day. One of the biggest mistakes people can make after installing
an anti-virus software is assuming their computer is now safe.
An outdated anti-virus is no protection at all.
The program has to be updated so that it can recognize new variants of
existing viruses. You can configure your anti-virus software to boot
automatically on start-up and run at all times.
users don't have to worry
Mac viruses – though
rare – do
While older Macs are susceptible to viruses just like PCs, they
tend to get far, far fewer, according to CBC technology columnist
Tod Maffin. There are only about 50 Mac viruses known, compared
to more than 85,000 for Windows PCs, says Maffin.
OS 10, the most recent operating system for Macs, has never had
a virus, according to Maffin.
Most Windows viruses and worms come in the form of e-mail. Mac
users can pass these on to those using Windows. Though your Mac
may remain untouched, those using a PC can become infected.
Macintosh users can no longer take security for granted. Just
like their PC counterparts, they need to be proactive against
||Install a firewall.
A firewall acts as a barrier between your home computer and the internet.
It can help screen out unauthorized access and can log attempts to enter
your system. For home users, a firewall can be a software program running
on the computer, a hardware device that plugs in between your modem and
your computer or network, or a combination of both.
A firewall will help protect you from inbound attacks, but they can do
little or nothing to detect e-mails containing viruses or block spyware
and adware – programs that can send data from your computer to
the outside world.
Keep your operating system up
Download security updates and patches for operating systems regularly.
The popularity of Windows has made it a prime target for hackers – regular
updates is a must.
Security holes in a program may expose your computer to outside threats.
Check for latest vulnerabilities and patches. You can also set your operating
system to update automatically.
Spyware is a general term for programs that could monitor your computer
use, or look for personal data stored on your computer. It can be installed
on your computer without your knowledge, sometimes through free programs
downloaded from the internet, or peer-to-peer file sharing.
Some spyware can hijack your home page or redirect your web searches.
Others cause pop-up ads out of the blue. At the very least, these programs
slow down your computer, and at their worst, other types of spyware can
record a user's keystrokes and gain access to passwords and financial
||Secure wireless network
Not securing your wireless network is akin to leaving your front door
wide open for anyone to walk in. Even if you have a firewall, but do
not protect the wireless end of your system, anyone will be able to access
your computer or network.
Someone with malicious intent can use your internet connection to attack
other systems, or download illegal material such as child pornography.
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