23 Aug Three Ways to Up Your Security Game Online
In the wake of major hacks and breaches around the world, the digital security of our personal and business information is a growing concern. If awareness and some concern over your privacy and security has not been on your mind, it should be. The data tells us that there is a hacking attempt every 39 seconds, 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised every day, and 58% of businesses in Canada have been targeted by a phishing attack.
This subject comes up as a matter of course for us when working with our clients and we offer recommendations businesses and individuals can up their security game. These are not foolproof methods and nothing is impenetrable, however, you can make yourself a ‘harder target’ and potentially mitigate your risk. Let’s talk about three of many ways to do this.
Number One: Use a Password Manager
Odds are that you are using a password like a child’s birthday, pet’s name, anniversary, or an old favourite
like “password”. Don’t laugh, it happens! The problem with these passwords is they are easy to guess or find out through creeping your Facebook page. Another issue comes up when you start using the same password on multiple sites, and yes, a hacker will check this as soon as they have access to one of your accounts!
One solution is to use a password manager to help you create long, strong, unique passwords for every site that requires a login. Don’t worry you will not have to remember the passwords as the software will do that for you. Another benefit of a password manager is that, once you’ve logged in with your master password, it will autofill your credentials which can bypass any key-logging software on your device.
There are a number of tools available on the market and which one you go with will depend on the features important to you. Some of the password managers you could choose from include: LastPass, 1Password, Keeper, and Dashlane. PC Mag has a great side-by-side comparison and review of these and others in this article.
Number Two: Think Twice About Logging on to Free WiFi
So you’re out for a meeting at the local coffee house, or maybe you’re waiting impatiently in the airport lounge for your boarding call, and you decide to quickly check your banking or send off a few emails using the convenient WiFi network that just so happens to be available. Think again!
These networks are open and lack the security of your home or business network making them susceptible to shady activities. Information you send and receive on public networks like the ones described above can be intercepted by third parties and used without your permission.
If you simply must be online, and it’s for more than just browsing the news or celebrity gossip, consider using a VPN or upgrading your data plan.
Number Three: Backup Your Data
Backing up the information stored on your devices makes good business sense. Think about what would happen to your business if you suddenly lost access to all the data stored on your computer or smartphone. This type of loss can easily cripple a business or at the very least cost many thousands of dollars depending on the size of your organization!
Losing your data can be the result of hackers, viruses, malware, or ransomware but can also be the result of human error, hardware failure, fire, flood, or other natural disaster.
Backing up your important data should be done at minimum once a week, preferably every 24 hours. Doing this puts you in an excellent position to recover your data in the event of loss and may restrict your losses to a matter of days. There are a number of methods available to do this. Backblaze provides a great discussion on this subject. You could also discuss your options with a reputable IT service provider.
Ultimately, cyber security is a growing concern and requires some of your attention to minimize your exposure. These three ways to up your security game online are but a few recommendations of many ways to reduce your risk. Do a little research, put some safeguards in place, don’t become a statistic.