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Vanguard - Secure your computer

Security Center  »  Secure Your Computer


Secure your computer and personal device

If you're a Vanguard shareholder, you know that we take protecting your privacy seriously. We're always reviewing and upgrading our security procedures and equipment. But have you done your part? Read on for some tips on how to protect your computer and mobile device.

Update your computer and personal device's software

Your computer and personal device use many pieces of software, including an operating system (such as Windows, Mac OS, or Linux), web browser software, and other applications for finances, personal productivity, and entertainment. Threats from viruses and attackers often take advantage of vulnerabilities in these software packages. Most vendors offer a system to help customers keep their software up to date. Contact your software vendor directly to access any available updates.

Virus protection

Malicious code such as viruses, worms, and Trojan horses can infiltrate personal computers and devices, allowing attackers to compromise the integrity of software packages or even take control of your equipment. It's up to you to protect your critical information.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to safeguard your personal device against viruses and malicious code. First, install antivirus software to protect, detect, and repair attacks from most viruses. Second, and just as important, ensure that software is up to date. New viruses appear daily. Your antivirus software is only as good as its last update. In addition, don't open, click on links in, or open attachments to any e-mail you think is suspicious.

Personal firewalls

High-speed internet access offers tremendous speed and 24-hour connectivity to the web. But being continuously connected to the internet exposes your personal device to online threats. Hackers' viruslike worms are constantly "knocking on doors" looking for available targets. You can help protect your personal device by using a firewall.

Personal firewall software takes its name from the barriers built into cars and buildings that separate potentially hazardous environments from protected areas. Similarly, firewall software on computers and personal devices protect them from the hazards of the internet by monitoring the types of activity or attempted activity between your equipment and a network. Computers and personal devices guarded by a firewall can refuse attempted connections that aren't initiated by you or that are suspicious.

Vanguard recommends that all shareholders install, use, and update personal firewall software. You should also look for included firewalls if you're purchasing home networking equipment such as a router. As with antivirus software, your firewall software must be kept up to date.

Spyware protection/Anti-spyware software

Even computers and devices that are protected by a firewall and safeguarded against viruses can be targeted by spyware. Spyware is software that appears to offer some tangible benefit, but actually monitors your behavior. This illegal access is often used to intercept the user IDs and passwords to your online accounts. Vanguard recommends that shareholders install antispyware software and configure it to scan your computer and personal device weekly. This will help combat and remove spyware.

There are additional ways to help protect yourself and your computer from spyware:

  • Verify any software you install on your computer or device. If you encounter a Security Warning window when installing a program that reads "Do you want to install and run [name of program] issued by [name of company]?" and you don't recognize the company, click No to stop the install.
  • Install a popup blocker to prevent spyware popup windows. (Spyware is often installed after clicking deceptive links in popup windows.) Note: You may want to change the settings in your popup blocker program to allow for popup windows on vanguard.com and other reputable sites that you trust.

Need technical assistance?

Contact Web Technical Support Services at 888-353-0547, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Eastern time.

Report security concerns

Receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to be from or about Vanguard? Forward it to us at phish@vanguard.com

Have other security concerns? E-mail us at abuse@vanguard.com

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