Most people are conscious of their personal safety. We lock the doors at night and when we leave home. WE put on seat belts and look both ways when crossing the street. Yet, when it comes to online security, most folks are content with a virus scanner, and do little about securing their personal data stored online.
If a grocery store clerk asks for your home address and phone number, you’d likely ask why they need it. Online however, we usually provide it without a second thought. We should be taking steps to protect our personal information instead of handing it out like candy.
Here’s three things you can do to help secure your personal data shared online.
1. Realize your online actions are risky
Read any tech related blog, or even syndicated news articles and it’s not hard to see that identity theft and cybercrime in general is not only serious, but on the rise. As with any plan, the first step is realizing that there is a problem. Once you’ve acknowledged that there is a problem the next step is to educate yourself about online security and what steps you should take.
2. Take matters into your own hands
Many people already know their personal information online is at risk, but there are further things you should do to minimize any dangers:
- Don’t rely on websites to keep you secure - Companies, online and brick and mortar, exist to make money. How do they do it? Sometimes, it’s by selling information you have given them or given them access to. Look at all the sites you have accounts with and ensure your information is secure to the level you are happy with.
- Provide the least amount of information possible - Think about the last time you joined a social network, or mailing list. You likely were asked to provide your name, address, birthday, etc. Often, you don’t have to provide all the information requested, just the highlighted or asterisked items are required.
- Think twice before signing up – It’s a good idea when signing up for a new account to think twice. Do you really need this account? Or can you get by without it?
- Use separate email accounts and passwords - Setting up different email accounts is a good idea. One should be for personal use, so the address is given only to people you know. Another could be for all of your online accounts, with a final one strictly for password recovery. It would be best to make the addresses as different as possible.You should have separate passwords for each account and every service. This will limit hackers from being able to gain access to multiple accounts.
- Secure your browsing – Almost every website that asks users to sign up for accounts offers a secure version of the site. Enter https://www. before the site address, e.g., https://www.facebook.com. https is a secure communications protocol that ensures one is communicating directly with the website – you’re actually looking at Facebook, not a phishing site designed to steal passwords.
3. Encourage others to think
It’s not enough to just take action yourself. Encouraging colleagues, friends and family to also take steps to protect their online information and identities, is worthwhile. There are many great ways to help spread the word about safety, including the National Cyber Security www.staysafeonline.org, which has even more information.
If you would like to learn about how we can help you keep your information and data safe online, please contact us today at 203.987.4566 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a comprehensive solution!