The most valuable thing on the devices and networks you use is the data you create and store there. Applications and operating systems can always be reinstalled, but user-created data is unique. If it gets lost or viewed without authorization, the outcome can be devastating. Hackers are interested in obtaining sensitive data. Some consider data more valuable than oil.
A company’s network may contain documents with trade secrets, personal information about employees or clients, or the organization’s financial records. Applications on your phone, computer, or other personal devices may expose your social security number, credit cards, and bank account information. In either case, identity theft is a real possibility — one that’s becoming all-too-frequent in our digital age.
How can we protect ourselves from being part of the next big breach?
Have you been good about updating your phone, tablet, computer? Do you get annoyed with the constant notifications to update? Software companies often release updates that patch bugs and vulnerabilities when they are discovered. Don’t put off software updates, especially on operating systems. Software left outdated may still contain security flaws that can leave you susceptible to a data or privacy breach. This also goes for your apps!
Back up, everything! If something should happen to the data you create on your devices or network, or you lose it all, you can recover quickly without hassle if it’s backed up. There are many methods to backup data. Leverage the cloud-like tools like dropbox, google drive, iCloud, etc. You can also use a hard drive, and we always recommend SSD for faster transfer speeds.
Creating strong passwords and never using the same password across sites or devices is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from digital invasion. On your phone, lock it with a strong password and fingerprint, face, or touch ID. To keep track of all of your password combinations, use a password manager like 1Password or LastPass to keep your passwords stored, strong, and unique across your devices and accounts.
If you use free WiFi hotspots in public places, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to obscure your personal information from others who may be using the same unsecured public network. Just make sure the VPN service is legitimate and one you trust to maintain your privacy. Some of our recommended VPNs are ExpressVPN and Cyberghost. There are plenty of options.
Turning off lock-screen app notifications on your smartphone is a simple way to hide personal information that can pop up on your phone’s lock screen. Disable app notifications to keep text messages and social media notifications away from prying eyes.
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