Posted: Robert Siciliano | May 3, 2016


10 Ways to Protect Your Digital Data

Your digital life is in some ways is as important as protecting as is your physical life. So here are 10 ways to put the seatbelt on your cyber life:

Back up your data.

  • There are different ways to do this, but just choose at least two backups preferably local and cloud and make it a daily habit. It is said in regards to backup: "Two is one and one is none." In other words, two copies is a backup and one copy, of course is a data disaster in the making. Check out Carbonites redundant backups.

Make yourself trick-proof.

  • Perhaps the most common way a hacker "gets into" a computer system is by tricking the user into revealing passwords, usernames and other sensitive information-via e-mails with attention-grabbing subject lines (a la "Your account is suspended").
  • Hackers send e-mails made to look like the sender is a legitimate person such as your employer, healthcare plan, bank, UPS, etc. Never click e-mails inside links unless someone you know normally sends you certain kinds of links (e.g., animal stories).

Longer Phone PINs

  • The default code is four digits, but make it five or more. BUT, the chance of your phone being cracked with 4 is still very small.

Use Antivirus Software

  • Are you living like a primitive, that is, using a computer that doesn't have malware protection? Some say it's not needed. I don't agree.

Password Manager

  • With a password manager there's no excuse for not having a different long, jumbled password for every account. Roboform is a great option.

Router Lock-Down

  • Change your router's admin login.
  • Use WPA2 encryption.
  • Change its default password.

Two-Factor Authentication

  • See which accounts offer this, then activate it.

Encrypt Sensitive E-mails

  • No matter how trustworthy the recipient, you should always encrypt transmission of sensitive information such as bank account numbers, SSN, passwords, etc.
  • On this same note, never use public Wi-Fi without a virtual private network (VPN) unless you intend on just reading stories. Public Wi-Fi is open hunting season for hackers.

Know what your apps are up to.

  • Apps for your phone and Facebook can leak out your personal information; make sure the settings are as private as you want.

Clicking on Videos

  • Hackers often use videos to lure people into clicking on them. The click can download malware, make you download a video player, or take you to a website that lures you into revealing sensitive information. Even if you think you're lure-proof, are you video-click-proof? Or will you hastily click on that video that promises to show your favorite celebrity naked in a hot tub?

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to discussing identity theft prevention.


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