Keeping Your Personal Data Safe
By Kassi Burke
This month we will be exploring the theme of cybersecurity in 2023 – both on a personal level to protect yourself and your personal data, as well as on a corporate level to protect your small to medium sized business’ data. As technology evolves, so do cybersecurity best practices so it’s important that you revisit the protocols you are taking to protect yourself and your business periodically.
January is a great time to set goals for the upcoming year and tackle some of the projects you haven’t had the time to get around to. Today, we will look at how you can protect yourself on a personal level – stay tuned for our small to medium sized business cybersecurity tips to come later in the month.
Here are our top 5 tips for keeping your personal data safe and secure:
Use Strong Passwords.
This sounds simple, but it’s an important step to take to keep your personal data safe. Hackers use software to generate random and known passwords to try to guess what your password is. Using a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters decreases the chances of a hacker figuring out your password. It sounds like a pain to change your passwords to something more cumbersome, but in the end it’s much easier to do this than to fight a cybercriminal.
Use 2 Factor Authentication.
For those not familiar, 2 factor authentication (2FA) is when a website requires more than just your username and password to login. Most often nowadays this entails entering a special code that was texted to your phone number. Whenever 2 or multi-factor authentication is available, use it! It may seem like a hassle to enter more than just your username and password, but protecting your data is worth it. In the future we expect biometric 2FA to become more mainstream – this could be using a fingerprint or facial recognition as an added step to login into your online account.
Monitor Your Online Accounts and Credit Reports
Regularly check in on your credit card and bank any fraudulent activity. Creating an account with one of the major credit reporting agencies is another great way to protect yourself. These accounts can notify you whenever there is a change in your credit. You can also use these credit agency accounts to put a credit freeze which would lock your personal credit and require a special PIN to apply for credit.
Keep Your Software Up to Date
Be sure to regularly check for software updates and install them when they become available for both your computer and your cell phone. These software updates often include security updates.
Think Twice Before Using Free Wi-Fi
Free wi-fi often has very little in place in terms of cyber security. While free wi-fi might be okay to check a quick email or scroll the news, it’s probably not the best time to make an online purchase using a credit card or send a confidential document. Others using the same network may be able to watch your activity and steal confidential information.
As with anything, follow your gut – if an email comes in that doesn’t look right, don’t click on it, just delete it. As cyber hacking becomes more common, there are also many ways to actively fight against it including virus protection software as well as insurance to protect you if you become a victim of a cyber crime.
We hope you will find these tips helpful as you check in on and consider upgrading your cyber security protections. Stay tuned for our next blog in our “Keeping Your Data Safe” series, which will focus on keeping your business data safe.
If you’re ready to dive into protecting your business data, our tech experts at Visibility can help. Click here to learn more about our Technical Services.