According to Statista, in 2019, over 1,473 data breakers occurred, exposing 164.68 million sensitive records. Data breaches are happening every second and it is hard to stay on top of things all the time. There are so many different access points for cyber attackers to take advantage of and that is why we have created this blog.
Let’s go over a few things you can do to help protect your personal data.
1. Make your passwords unique and strong
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s extremely common for individuals to use the same password for a whole number of online accounts – email, social media, online banking, and cloud-computing apps, to name a few. This is a huge no-no. Instead, use unique passwords for every account. You might like to use a password management app to keep track.
You’ll also want to make your passwords strong – no names, birthdays, or phone numbers. The strongest passwords are long and random and contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters (e.g., $, #, or !). A non-sensical sentence is always a good strategy: c0ffeeISaroundDOG# for example.
2. Always keep your software updated
Software updates don’t just deliver enhanced functionality; they offer vital security updates, too. Keep your software – including your operating system and cloud-based apps like Office 365 – up-to-date.
3. Consider multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is an essential part of protecting individual data and maintaining your IT services for businesses. It requires you to verify your identity in addition to entering your username and password when logging in to an account, such as your bank or email. Usually, this involves a security code texted to your cell phone. Enter the code on-screen along with your username and password to access your account. You should be able to set this up in your account’s security settings.
4. Never share personal information via phone, email, or text
If you receive a call, text, or email from someone claiming to be from a charity, retailer, utility providers, the government, or even a ‘long-lost nephew’ asking for personal information, it’s highly likely you’ve been targeted by a phishing scam. Do not divulge your data and only engage with trusted institutions, companies, and IT professionals.
If you do suspect the call is legitimate, call the organization yourself. That way, you can be 100 percent certain your information is safe.
5. Do NOT share sensitive data while on public Wi-Fi networks
When you connect to a Wi-Fi network at a café, airport, or other public hotspots, you can’t be sure of the network’s security. It’s best to steer clear of your email and bank accounts and avoid doing any online shopping. If you do need to access these accounts, use your mobile data instead.
6. Make it hard for identity thieves
Let’s say someone does gain access to your personal information. Now, they want to take out a loan or credit card in your name – and never pay them back. These kinds of activities can fly under the radar until you go to buy a car or take out a home loan and find your credit to be ruined.
Most financial institutions offer the following security measures to make it hard for identity thieves to do any damage:
- Fraud alters – lenders must verify your identity before giving credit.
- Credit freezes – third-parties will not be able to access your credit report. This should also prevent an identity thief from securing a loan or credit card in your name.
- Credit locks – similar to a freeze, except you can lift the lock yourself electronically.
Protecting your data can be overwhelming and it seems like there are just so many points of entry for attackers, we understand that. At Xpert, we want you to feel safe and protected while you get on with your daily operations. Contact us today and let us know about any cybersecurity concerts you may have, we are here to help.