From the recent Facebook data breach to compromised customer data at huge companies like FedEx and Delta, personal security is more relevant than ever.
In fact, it might even seem that our data is under attack!
While you can’t always prevent data security issues, here are 12 ways to help you protect yourself in this fast-moving digital age:
1. Stop sending sensitive information digitally.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people email tax documents to their accountant, or text a password to a family member in a pinch.
2. Beware of public Wi-Fi.
Anything you send in a coffee shop or airport can be intercepted by someone on the same network. Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when you’re out and about.
3. Secure your texts.
Whether you use a free app like WhatsApp or a paid Android or iOS solution, there are lots of end-to-end encryption options, ensuring only you and the recipient see messages.
4. Stay up to date.
If you don’t, you could be at risk for malware, viruses and cybercrime attacks. Make sure your operating system and software are updated – many devices do this automatically.
5. Worry less about wireless.
Secure your wireless network with a password so nobody can jump onto your Wi-Fi network and steal info.
6. Be cautious of clever email scammers.
Today’s phishing emails can have links that lead to realistic-looking websites. Never give out passwords or other sensitive info by email, text or phone unless you’re sure that you’re talking to the actual organization.
7. Lock down your laptop.
Make sure your laptop requires a password when it boots up. That way, if it gets stolen or prying eyes try to access your device, they’ll be stopped before they start.
8. Wipe out data.
If it’s time for a new laptop or smartphone, make sure your data isn’t hanging around. Once you’ve backed up any data you need, use a software program to permanently erase your hard drive.
9. Choose security questions wisely.
Avoid using common words in your passwords. Period. Google estimated someone would have a 19.7% success rate answering “pizza” to “What’s your favourite food? Customize questions or pick harder ones to guess.
10. Avoid sites that aren’t https.
Https stands for “hypertext transfer protocol with secure socket layer” (otherwise known as having a SSL certificate.) Sites without an “s” on the end are not secure if you are being asked to make a purchase or submit private/sensitive data that could get intercepted.
11. Pay attention to privacy settings.
Choose who can see the content you post on sites like Facebook and Instagram, and who can view your profile.
Opt for the highest level of privacy possible but be aware that some settings will prevent potential clients from seeing your posts, so find a happy balance that won’t sacrifice your social media marketing efforts!
12. Back up your data.
If your device gets stolen or compromised, what happens to that work report or your niece’s baby photos? Schedule automatic backups through your operating system or a cloud service.
While even the biggest and brightest companies can be hacked or otherwise attacked, these online security tips can help you reduce some of the risks.