Online privacy and data security have become such important issues in today’s digital age that now there’s a whole month dedicated to staying safe online. We just closed out October which is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) and learned quite a few tips.
Personal data, both our own and that in our databases at work, is a hot commodity in today’s digital environment. And from the surveys we take on social media to the emails we open at the office any of them could lead to theft of that information.
Loss of productivity
Data recovery costs
Loss of business and reputation
In 2018, 14.4 million people were victims of identity fraud and the out of pocket costs to repair the damage more than doubled from two year prior to $1.7 billion in fraud expenses that individuals had to pay.
Mitigating your cyber risk is not only good sense, it’s necessary in today’s technology-driven climate to ensure your personal information or company employee’s login credentials aren’t being sold on the Dark Web to the highest bidder.
Following are several excellent tips that follow this year’s NCSAM theme of “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.
Proactive Steps to Enhance Cybersecurity at Home & Work
Why does it seem the number of data breaches has been rising? It’s because selling things like SSNs, emails, bank account numbers and other personal information is lucrative for criminals.
A full ID package that includes several pieces of personally identifiable information (name, address, SSN, etc.) can go for up to $100 on the black market. And often the crooks stay protected, sitting anonymously behind a computer on the other side of the world unleashing scripts via email, mobile app, and social media post.
But there are several proactive ways you can safeguard your data both at home and work. These tips follow the theme of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so we’ll organize them into each theme area.
Own IT is about understanding your digital footprint and taking ownership of ways to protect it.
Use Privacy Settings on Social Media
You can enjoy reconnecting with friends from high school and sharing photos with family without sharing your information with the world (including hackers and scammers).
Take time to go through the privacy settings of your social media accounts. These days they can be quite detailed and give you control over who sees your posts and who can or can’t share your posts or photos, giving you more control over your privacy.
Be Wary When Traveling
It’s easy to make the mistake of logging in to your bank account while on public Wi-Fi when traveling. But that momentary lapse in good data security could cost you big time when you get home.
While the new Wi-Fi 6 standard will make connections more secure, it’s going to take a while for everyone to upgrade, so assume that anytime you’re logged into a public hot spot, there’s a hacker watching your every keystroke.
Secure IT revolves around everything you can do to proactively secure your personal and business data and protect it from unauthorized access.
Use a Password Manager
Weak or stolen passwords account for about 81% of all hacking-related data breaches. It’s not possible for most people to remember unique and strong passwords for every single login they use so they tend to reuse passwords, which means if one is breached, multiple accounts are at risk.
Password management applications keep all your strong passwords stored securely and you only have to remember a single password.
Be Wary When Shopping Online
Shopping online has become commonplace and it’s not going to be long before online sales eclipse in-person retail sales. While banks and credit card issuers have increased their fraud policies over the years to combat credit card fraud, there are still some things you can do to help protect your payment card details.
Here are two safeguards you can use when purchasing online, especially if it’s from an online retailer you’re using for the first time.
Use a pre-paid credit card that’s not attached to your bank account
Use a PayPal account, which includes additional buyer protections
Protect IT is about keeping your guard up and maintaining good cybersecurity all the times.
Routinely Check Your Privacy Settings
Social media companies often change their user interfaces and an update can end up defaulting you from a private setting to one that’s not. Be sure to regularly check your privacy settings to ensure none have been altered due to an app update.
Request Your Free Credit Report Annually
All consumers can request a free credit report from the three main credit reporting agencies once a year. This allows you to get a heads up if there’s an unfamiliar account taken out in your name and can also let you know if a creditor hasn’t properly reported a loan that’s been paid off.
It’s good cyber hygiene to monitor your credit report at least annually so you’ll know if anyone’s using your identity to apply for credit and loans in your name.
Good Cybersecurity Starts with a Secure Device
Do you have a strong firewall at your office? What about antivirus and anti-malware to help combat phishing attacks? Pro Tech Guy can help you with a full data security evaluation of either your business network or home computer and suggest affordable solutions to increase your security.
Contact us today for an IT security check at 508-364-8189 or reach out online.