Important internet safety precautions
To protect against the loss, theft, misuse or compromise of your confidential account data, you should take the following Important Internet Safety Precautions to help protect your information when using the Internet:
- Frequently check your accounts.
- Protect your passwords.
- Get up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
- Use a firewall.
- Ensure your browser and operating system are always up-to-date.
- Protect your Internet connection — especially with a wireless home network.
- Protect yourself from online fraud.
Frequently check your accounts
Frequently check your account and actively monitor your transaction history, including promptly reviewing correspondence, notices and account statements, or confirmations from us.
Protect your passwords
Maintaining the confidentiality of your passwords, both the personal login password you have chosen (your "Login Password") and the personal trading password you have chosen (your "Trading Password"), is key to your Internet security. To ensure you protect your confidential information, you should:
- Create a Login Password that is different from your Trading Password.
- Choose unique passwords that you can remember so that you do not have to write them down. A combination of letters, numbers and symbols (e.g. "!") should be used for better protection.
- Never use passwords that are easy for others to guess such as birthdays, family names or telephone numbers.
- Ensure that AutoComplete or other memorized password functions on your browser are disabled.
- Never save your passwords on your computer, the Internet or on any other software, as it will allow anyone with access to that information the ability to potentially impersonate you.
- Never disclose your password(s) to anyone, especially online, not even to the police, your financial institution, your Internet Service Provider or your family or friends. Please note, we will never ask you for your passwords.
Get up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software
Your computer can become infected with a virus in many ways (e.g. through email attachments, from content you download from a website or from a diskette or other media). To help prevent your computer from becoming infected and potentially losing files or having them corrupted, you should install anti-virus software.
Anti-virus software will detect viruses and clean your computer so that they do not spread. It is crucial that you have and always use up-to-date anti-virus software, obtained from a reputable vendor, which is capable of scanning files and email messages for viruses. This will help prevent your files from being corrupted or lost. Most anti-virus programs include an auto-update feature that enables the program to download profiles of new viruses so that it can check for new viruses as soon as they are discovered. You should also register your anti-virus software immediately, and choose to be notified automatically of product updates, as new viruses are constantly being discovered and your anti-virus software needs to be up to date.
Spyware runs on your computer and can gather private information such as passwords and credit card numbers, deliver unwanted advertising, and monitor your browsing patterns. Spyware is typically hidden in an otherwise harmless program, often in an email, freeware or shareware you download. Before downloading any free software, make sure you know and trust the provider.
Anti-spyware software can detect malicious programs and clean your computer. It is important that you have and always use up-to-date anti-spyware software; and you should register your anti-spyware software and choose to be notified automatically of product updates.
Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer assistance in finding and removing spyware. The maker of your anti-virus software may also offer anti-spyware protection. Make sure you are protected against this growing threat.
Use a firewall
To ensure you protect your confidential information, you should use a firewall to protect your home network from offensive websites and potential hackers. Firewalls serve as protective barriers between your computer and the Internet, preventing unauthorized access to your computer when you're online. If you do not have a firewall installed on your computer, your personal information may be accessed by a hacker.
A firewall allows you to restrict traffic through the firewall such that only certain types of information is allowed — ensuring only safe programs and/or traffic.
If you are using a Windows Operating System and are not sharing files or documents with other computers on your network then, as a further precaution, you should disable the Windows File sharing feature. This will prevent others from being able to download or view your files or documents. For more information on disabling Windows file sharing, please visit the Microsoft website.
Be sure to set up a firewall around your computer. Some ISPs offer firewall software to their customers, and you can buy firewall software or hardware at many computer stores.
Ensure your browser and operating system are always up-to-date
You should always take advantage of software updates so that your browser and operating system have the latest security updates to help reduce your computer's vulnerability. To ensure that you are able to download all of the latest updates, you should always use a legally licensed operating system and browser. Most operating systems and browser versions offer the ability to be notified automatically of product updates. You should always use this feature.
You should always use a web browser that supports 256-bit encryption or greater when accessing secure websites. Most browsers now come with 256-bit encryption, which provides adequate protection when transmitting confidential data over the Internet.
Protect your Internet connection — especially with a wireless network
Computers connected to the Internet for prolonged periods of time can become vulnerable to attacks. There are additional precautions that you should take to ensure that your Internet connection is secure.
The default configuration of most wireless home networks is not secure. Contact your wireless software vendor for specific information about enabling encryption and strengthening the overall security of your wireless home network.
Exercise caution with wireless hotspots:
Taking a few simple precautions when using wireless hotspots can help protect your computer:
- Install a firewall on all network computers.
- Disable wireless connectivity when not in use.
- Use reputable encryption software.
- Disable wireless ad hoc mode. This will allow only wireless networks that you created to use your wireless software.
- If you are unsure of the security of a wireless hotspot, don't use it for conducting confidential business, such as accessing your work email or financial information.
- Wireless technologies are continuously changing. Consult the manufacturer of your network hardware to ensure you have the most up-to-date security technology.
Protect yourself from online fraud
Brand spoofing or phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a scam where the perpetrator sends out authentic-looking emails appearing to come from a legitimate company in an effort to phish for personal and financial information from the email recipient. If you receive one of these emails, delete it immediately and do not respond or act on it. Please note:
- We will never mail, call or send you an email asking for your password, account number or personal information.
- Never provide personal or financial information to anyone in an email.
- Never enter personal information unless you are sure the website is legitimate. You should also be certain the site is encrypted. Look for the letter "s" at the end of "https" at the beginning of the URL address (e.g. "https://www.qtrade.ca.") This ensures that the site is running in secure mode.
- Be suspicious of email attachments from unknown sources. If you do not know or recognize the sender of the email, do not open the attachment.
- Use security software products, when navigating through the Internet to: (i) block fake websites and crimeware; (ii) keep passwords safe; and (iii) authenticate trusted websites.
- Do not set your email program to "auto-run" attachments. Always check that emails you have received do not contain viruses by running your anti-virus software when the email attachment is received.
- Frequently check your account and actively monitor your transaction history including promptly reviewing correspondence, notices and account statements, or confirmations from us.