In today’s times, everywhere you turn, there’s another data breach announced. If it’s not you, it is someone you know, a mega-company or institute, or worse yet, somewhere you have an account, albeit your bank, healthcare provider, social media sites, etc. If you have information stored anywhere, you are at risk of being breached. Keeping your passwords, data, financial and other personal information from cyber criminals should absolutely be a part of your life nowadays.
Weeding through the abundance of information on cyber security and how to protect yourself from phishing attacks, malware, identity theft, financial fraud, the Dark Web, public Wi-Fi, etc. is overwhelming. Your first line of defense is YOU.
To help, here are some, not all by any stretch, important security guidelines you should implement now to keep your personal information private and protected.
- Secure your computers and mobile devices with strong passwords/passcodes, 2FA or multifactor authentication.
- Keep your PCs and mobile devices operating systems up-to-date, and use antivirus protection. Also, logout out of all running applications and turnoff your computer when you are finished using it. Leaving it connected to the Internet leaves the door open for rogue attacks.
- When you are not using Bluetooth, turn it off. Bluetooth technology leaves you vulnerable due to security weaknesses.
- Be careful when downloading apps. They can contain malicious software, worms and viruses. In addition, beware if they ask for unnecessary permissions, which can give them access to your personal information. Further, delete any apps you no longer use.
- Do not click on ads nor clickbait on websites. This can lead to infecting your system with malware.
- Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
- Always check links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. If in doubt, go directly to the vendor in question, like your bank, e-commerce site, etc.
- Beware of public Wi-Fi. Chances are the security is negligent leaving you vulnerable to being hacked.
- Backup and store any and all important data once, twice or three times depending on what it is. If your data is ever stolen as a result of ransomware, you should have access to your important data.
- Close down any online services that you no longer use. You may have a great deal of personal information that you willingly gave away should these services disappear. In that case, they are free to take your information with them and could use it for nefarious purposes.
There are many more ways to protect your personal information, and there is no protection method that is 100% guaranteed, but there is a lot you can do to keep your information safe. Stay abreast on Cyber Security Best Practices and use common sense. Always remember, you are a target. It’s not if, but when, an attack happens.