Cybersecurity: Practical Advice to Protect your Private Informationin Trusted Advice
In the past few years, we have witnessed a regular pattern of online security breaches. In the corporate world, high profile companies such as Target, Home Depot and Sony have been hacked. In 2014, private celebrity photos and other private data were hacked via a breach of Apple’s iCloud service. The federal government has also been targeted, as earlier this year the Office of Personnel Management reported that 22 million electronic personnel records and security-clearance files were stolen.
Consumer reaction to these breaches varies, from people indicating they are afraid to conduct business online, to those accepting these data breaches as a fact of online life. Most people believe that if these big organizations, presumably using highly sophisticated security protection software and firewalls, can be hacked, what chance do they have of protecting their electronic data. While there are no fail-safe methods currently available, there are some practical steps that can be taken to make it more difficult for your private information to be compromised.
- Use a content filter that restricts users from accessing websites that are known to have malware or phishing. Some of these filters can be found by clicking here
- Don’t click on links in an email from unknown senders
- Protect mobile devices using security software and turn on encryption on mobile devices
- Use strong passwords
- Or use a password manager
- Never send private information such as account numbers and social security numbers by email unless it is sufficiently encrypted or a two factor authentication system is used
- Always verify important information sent by email through a secondary means such as a phone call
- Subscribe to a credit monitoring service. Even though these services provide after-the-fact alerts, it is better to be aware of a credit or a data breach as soon as possible after it occurs. In addition, you can request that your credit files be locked as a preventative measure. Click here for more information
If you wish to learn more on this topic, Consumer Reports published an article in 2014 that can be found by clicking here.