Data security is not just important to big data firms, it’s important to everyone. Every day, hackers, cyber thieves, and cyber terrorists are looking for easy targets- and all too often- those targets are innocent and hard working people like you.
Here are the top 10 most important ways you can secure your data and fend off electronic attackers.
1. Use your debit card as a credit card
It may take a bit longer, but running a debit card as a credit card offers somewhat more protection for your financial data. It’s best to use this tip when shopping online or while traveling. For more security, use it as a credit card at all purchase points.
2. Vary your passwords
It can be inconvenient to use different passwords on different sites, but it’s very important that you do so. Using the same password on more than one site more than doubles your security risk, and it does do with each additional site where you use the same password. It’s best to keep a notebook with your passwords in it.
3. Do not click “Unsubscribe”
Clicking on these links sends a clear signal to spammers that you are a live email address. Clicking unsubscribe will attract even more spam. It’s better to block sources of unwanted emails.
4. Beef up your passwords
Using random capitalization and inserting numbers will make an average strength password practically uncrackable. Throw in an odd symbol in the middle and even a block of NSA supercomputers wouldn’t be able to beat your password without reading your mind.
5. Password protect mobile devices
This is the main way accounts get infiltrated. Most people also have few protections set up on these devices. You may rarely let them out of your site, but all it takes is one slip up in the wrong place and you might as well hand your password diary over to a stranger.
6. Don’t leave computers unattended and unlocked at work
Most people have at least one person at work who would like to sabotage them in some way. Leaving a computer unlocked and unattended at the office is a good way to have personal or sensitive info spilled in the workplace.
7. Don’t fall prey to phishing scams
Emails from strange places with bizarrely attractive offers of free money or cheap goods are always fraudulent. Always. Flag them. Ignore them. Delete them.
8. Make sure people on your networks know how to stay safe
You may be all buttoned down when it comes to security. But it only takes one person on your local network making bad security choices to ruin all your security provisions. It could be an employee or coworker fooling around on social media, it could be a teenager buying games from untrustworthy sites- or any number of sloppy behavior by those on your local network. Make sure people using your system know your rules and abide by them.
9. Use a password management system
Passwords are your first and best line of defense. But using them well can quickly become confusing. Changing them regularly can make you invisible, but mistakes happen. A password management system can take care of all this for you, eliminating the need for a password diary, or the need to dedicate passwords to memory.
10. Update your software
It can be annoying when update requests come up on your system, but the security updates should be allowed and accepted almost without exception. At every big software company, there are teams of code writers working every day to defeat the latest weapons invented by cyber attackers. Security updates contain these newest and best security measures. They are free, most of the time. There’s no reason not to accept them gladly.