Data security and privacy is a major concern these days as more and more people work, shop and play online. If you are like most people, you might worry about keeping your data and your identity safe. While this can never be guaranteed, there are some common sense steps you can take to help protect your data.
If you often shop online, you can help protect your data by shopping only at reputable online businesses. Always check to make sure your web connection is secure. Most Internet browsers show site security by placing the icon of a padlock before the URL address. If the icon is missing, do not make a purchase, no matter how much your might want something, for your payment data may be accessed by third parties.
Also, before your shop, keep your data safe by keeping your devices safe. Make sure that you are up-to-date with your operating system, anti-virus and anti-malware software, as recommended by David Geithner.
To keep your data secure, you need good, strong passwords. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols to create your passwords, and make them fairly long. A password like “0ten1nine6*2” is much more difficult to guess or steal than something like “sports.” Also, make sure that you use several different passwords. Ideally, you should have a different password for every site or device, but at least have three or four, and change them frequently. Most experts recommend changing your passwords every three months or so.
Moreover, you will need to store your passwords in a safe place. Do not write them on a sticky note and post them on your computer monitor. You might try password management software, but if you choose to write down your passwords, at least store them in a secure place that is not easily accessible to other people.
Don’t Fall for Scams
Scams are everywhere these days, so you must be extra careful not to fall into them. Don’t click on links in emails unless you are absolutely certain they are legitimate. Don’t even trust emails that seem to be coming from friends, for people’s email accounts are often hacked. If you have any questions at all about the legitimacy of the email, delete it. You can always contact the supposed sender and ask for verification, but it’s much more difficult to get out of a scam after you’ve fallen into one.
Watch out, too, for emails, texts or phone calls that ask for your personal information. Never give it out no matter what the sender or caller says. The government and legitimate organizations will not ask you to give your personal information through email or text or over the phone. Be certain of that, and then delete the email or text or hang up the phone.
When you get an email that says one of your accounts has been compromised or needs attention, check the email address it originates from. Even if the email claims to be from Amazon or Apple or Yahoo, the email address will not be in the standard form for those companies and is, in fact, usually merely gibberish.
Your data is critically important, so make a strong effort to keep it as safe as possible.