Identity theft impacts 60 million Americans according to a 2018 survey from The Harris Poll. Over 90% of data attacks start with a phishing email and almost half of Americans had their credit card exploited by cyber criminals in 2016, according to Cyber Defense Magazine. We all have important documents or information we do not want made public or exploited. Below are some tips to keep your data safe and protect your privacy.
Storing Your Information
Store your documents on a cloud storage system. When doing this make sure you are using a secure URL “https” and change your password frequently. Before selecting a cloud service, check into their security history and select one that has a good reputation. Also back up your data to an external hard drive and do it periodically. This makes your data easily portable and accessible.
Sharing Your Information
When sharing private information, use a private email address instead of your work email address. Company email addresses are often tracked by the employer for the safety and well-being of the company. You can also encrypt the files you wish to share. Just go to the settings on your computer and follow the prompts. Another option is to use your cloud service to send sensitive information. Many of them have this feature.
A common issue people face is having their social media accounts hacked. To avoid this, go to the privacy settings on all accounts and make sure your profiles are set to the private mode. This helps to avoid unwanted viewers from potential hacking and sharing your details. Avoid sharing very private information even if you only have friends and family following you. Information on the internet is permanent and, with a bit of work, anyone can find information that has been shared on the internet. Also, with every post, your location at that specific time is stored with the post. Keep this in mind when sending out the next tweet or Facebook post.
Consider a VPN
Using a virtual private network (“VPN”) is very helpful in preventing your search history, your location, and your internet usage from being seen and hacked, especially while using the internet in public places. To keep your internet usage private, try a VPN. These can be downloaded on to your laptop or smartphone.
Use a password manager Service.
These services generate strong passwords for you, keep all your passwords safe and in one place, will auto-populate your password when you need it and can simplify online payments. Popular ones include Keeper, LastPass and Dashlane.
Keeping Your Phone Protected
Mobile malware is on the rise. There are very simple ways to maintain phone protection. Make sure to install a password to unlock your phone, and use one that is unique and long, or use the pattern or fingerprint feature. Also change your notification settings so the message that comes with the notification is not seen in the popup for wandering eyes to read.