We are firmly in the internet era, and while it has many advantages, it comes with its own set of challenges. The biggest issue with living in a digital world is that your information is often at risk. Therefore, you must be alert and protect your data. Otherwise, hackers may misuse your personal and financial information for nefarious purposes. In 2019 alone, more than 15 billion records were exposed, according to a RiskBased security report.
Therefore, it is clear that data security is a top concern for individuals and companies. Savvy companies invest significant amounts of money and manpower into this, with protective mechanisms in place. However, there is still a huge gap between the required security measures and the actual measures in place overall. Data breaches can be anything from phishing attempts asking you to enter your credit card number to access Spectrum deals to brute force password attacks. So, you must do all you can as an individual to protect your information from malicious breaches. You can start by following these basic tips, and build on from there.
Protect Your Passwords
The most basic thing to do is to protect your passwords properly. First of all, create strong passwords with a mixture of alphabets, numbers, and special characters. Do not use dictionary words or any personal information in your passwords. Additionally, do not save them on your device or write them down. If you absolutely have to, use a secure password manager.
Where possible, use biometric or multi-factor authentication. In addition, beware of phishing attempts, and do not share your credentials with anyone. Do not reply to emails from suspicious or unreliable sources. Most apps or banks do not need you to enter your passwords or pin codes. So, if you receive an email asking for these credentials, ignore it and report it to the relevant authority.
Encrypt Your Personal Data
You must encrypt your data to protect it. Encryption basically refers to converting your data from a readable to an unreadable format. Most devices support data encryption. So, all you have to do is install the relevant software and use it accordingly. As for online surfing, you can use VPN services to encrypt your internet traffic. These will scramble the information about the websites and apps in your use.
Furthermore, you should use encrypted hardware drives to store your data. These may cost a bit more than conventional ones, but are worth the protection they provide. They require you to enter a password to access them, so are a safe option.
Keep Storage Backups
A really easy way to protect your data is to keep storage backups. For example, external hard drives or USBs. However, you must keep them in a safe space and regularly update them. Ideally, you should keep these drives in a different building than your device, but in any case, you should put them in a secure place only you know about.
In addition, if there are any changes in your personal information, update these drives as soon as possible.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
It might be tempting to use public Wi-Fi connections when you’re out and about. However, you must avoid it. Use personal internet devices or your phone’s 4G connection instead. Public Wi-Fi connections are minefields for information breaches. In many cases, hackers use this tactic to use people’s information in an illegal way.
Therefore, always use private and secured Wi-Fi connections. Otherwise, malicious parties will have an opening to breach your data.
Update Your System Regularly
Most devices are equipped with their own safety protocols. The same goes for most software applications. However, you should update them regularly to ensure that you get the latest security features. Companies keep updating devices and software with new safety and security features in response to any breaches. Therefore, you must make sure you have the latest updates in order to protect your data.
In conclusion, you must follow the abovementioned data security tips. These will protect your personal and business information from hacking attempts. In addition to these tips, keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, and report it immediately!