2019 was the year of serious data breaches. Each made headlines that jolted users into reality and the importance of protecting personal data. A recent survey indicates that 52 percent of users polled believe they need to strengthen their data policies, 45% expect advertising and marketing regulation to become “more strict”, while 88% agree, or strongly agree, that digital privacy will become increasingly important this year. In our ever connected lives, there is a serious need for us to be alert and aware about how our data is collected, used, shared and what steps need to be taken to better manage our personal information.
Each year, 28 January, is observed as the Data Privacy Day in India, the US, Canada and 47 European countries, the day is observed to raise awareness and promote data protection practices. With that in mind, Sophos lists down 9 tips in order to ensure your data is secure and safe.
1. Use a password manager
Password managers will create and remember complex passwords for you, making it easy for you to keep different passwords for every website. All you need to do is remember one super long and complicated password for the manager itself.
2. Be aware of what apps you use
Always check the permissions an app is asking for before you download it to your personal device. It’s also important to delete any apps that you don’t use anymore.
3. Know what you’re sharing on social media
Information such as your date of birth or address gives cybercriminals usable information about you. Equally, sharing when you’re going on a trip can alert local criminals that your home will be empty.
4. Use two-factor authentication
You can do this with an app such as Google Authenticator, or from SMS codes sent directly to your phone. If you want to be super secure you can do it with a hardware key that you plug straight into your computer or laptop.
5. Use a webcam cover
It’s not impossible for hackers to access your webcam. Keep yourself protected and have peace of mind by using a webcam cover.
6. Keep your shields up
If you’re having connection troubles, resist the temptation to “turn off the firewall” or “bypass the router” to see if that solves the problem. That’s a bit like disconnecting your car’s brakes and then going for a ride to see if performance improves.
7. Consider using a ransomware blocker.
Tools like Sophos’ own Cryptoguard can detect and block the disk-scrambling part of a ransomware attack. This offers you protection even if the malware file itself, and its running process, is out there on someone else’s computer that you can’t control.
8. Patch early, Patch often
There are millions of computers still at risk from WannaCry – this means they haven’t been patched for more than two and a half years! Don’t be one of those people. The best way to stay up to date is have auto-updates on so you know you’re running the latest software.
9. Make regular backups
And keep at least one recent copy offline, so you can access your precious data even if you’re locked out of your own computer, your own network or your own accounts. By the way, encrypt your backups so that you don’t spend the rest of your life wondering what might show up if any of your backup devices go missing.
While today might be the official Data Privacy Day, remember its Data Privacy Day tomorrow, the day after and the day after that. It’s like Quit Smoking Day – you take it on for the rest of your digital life.