Keeping your personal data safe and secure while maintaining an online presence can be tricky without a little expert guidance.
The recent rash of high-profile data security breaches impacting customers of companies like Uber and Equifax have shined a spotlight on digital privacy concerns. Businesses and individuals alike are growing more aware of the risks to their sensitive information in an online world, worrying that they could be among the next round of victims.
Taking steps to protect yourself from cyber threats both at home and at the office has never been more important. As these threats continue to become more sophisticated, users need to be aware of the impact their behaviour can have on their online security. Protecting yourself and your personal data is equal parts security safeguards and smart Internet use habits.
The Edmonton Examiner recently reached out to the team of cybersecurity experts at Ekota Central for an interview and spoke with Jae Steen and Shawn Ayotte, who shared some great security tips with Examiner readers. Take a few minutes to check out the original article on the Examiner’s website, and see what they had to say.
Over Sharing Is The Biggest Danger To Your Personal Data
It goes without saying that cybersecurity safeguards like firewalls, spam filters, and antivirus software are necessary precautions for you to have in place whenever you find yourself online. Especially when you online activities include your banking or credit card information, or any other piece of information that could be used to steal your identity.
Aside from the need to be sure that the websites you’re visiting are legitimate and the connection you’re using is secure, you need to be smart about password management. Those other safeguards can only protect your personal data if a hacker has no other way of getting their hands on your information. A strong password protects the information stored in the account it’s securing, but protecting that password is up to the user.
This means not just choosing a password that isn’t easy to guess, but avoiding sharing that password with anyone, avoiding writing down your password, and never using the same password for multiple accounts. A secure password manager can make all of this much easier by keeping track of all of your unique passwords for you and offering the added bonus of letting you create complex passwords that you otherwise would have a hard time remembering.
That being said, passwords alone are not enough anymore. Two-Factor Authentication is a growing trend in the business world that is quickly becoming popular for personal cybersecurity as well. Social media sites like Facebook are using Two-Factor Authentication to prevent unauthorized logins by requiring users to provide a second piece of information in addition to their password. Facebook uses a temporary code generator to give users a number they need to provide each time they log into their account, but codes sent via text message are another popular Two-Factor Authentication option. More advanced options use things like biometric data.
A quick look at the security settings of your online accounts will tell you if there is a built-in Two-Factor Authentication option available for you to activate in order to protect your personal data. It’s often possible to use a tool like Google Authenticator to generate a Two-Factor Authentication code that adds an extra layer of security to certain websites and apps that support Two-Factor Authentication.
And while we’re on the topic of social media, it’s more than just your password you need to be concerned about.
Social engineering is a favourite tactic of cybercriminals, and one of the easiest ways for them to steal your identity or gain access to your personal data is by using the information you’ve readily provided to them. You social media profiles contain a ton of information that can be used to power a phishing scam, with disastrous results.
Phishing scams work best when the cybercriminal behind them knows just enough about you and your habits to fake correspondence from the right bank, or pose as a favourite online retailer in order to get passwords or other personal data out of you without raising suspicion. A public social media profile makes getting this type of information much easier than you’d think.
And it’s not just the safety of your personal data you need to be concerned about when it comes to oversharing on social media. Your physical safety can be compromised if the wrong person sees the wrong information. All of those fun vacation photos let a burglar know you’re far from home, making your home an ideal target. Using the location tagging feature on apps like Facebook or Instagram gives real-time information about your location and activities, which can potentially put your personal safety in jeopardy as well.
At the end of the day, cybersecurity comes down to common sense and caution. Listen to the advice offered by cybersecurity professionals, and you can cross worrying about your personal data off of your to-do list.
Want to learn more about the steps you can take to protect yourself and your business against cybercrime? Contact Ekota Central at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 432-7823 today. We’re the cybersecurity professionals businesses in Edmonton trust.