8 Ways to Keep Your Digital Data Safe

Author: Julie Foster - MarCom/Thursday, May 25, 2017/Categories: Home Internet

Technology is constantly evolving. As you actively use technology for productive and social pursuits, you’re creating a pool of digital data about many areas of your life.

To protect your privacy, you should keep in mind that some people want to steal your information. These criminals prey on the ill prepared, which means that you need to be proactive to keep your digital data safe.

1. Beef Up Your Passwords

You probably dread creating new passwords. You may even use the same password to access all your devices and software. You might also use passwords that are short or easy to remember. These shortcuts seem easy for you, but they can put your digital security at risk. Instead, consider several measures that you can take to make sure that passwords to your digital data are secure:

  • Use longer passwords (8 characters or more).
  • Avoid frequently used passwords (for example: 123456, password, qwerty, 666666).
  • Use more complex passwords with numbers, capital letters, lower case letters, and symbols.
  • Use a different password for every unique account.
  • Use an app to manage your passwords.

To take password management even further, you can write your passwords down and keep them in a safe place, such as a safe or safety deposit box. A physical backup ensures you have an alternate method to access and update your passwords.

2. Don't Get Caught by Phishing

Have you ever received an email, instant message (IM), or text that didn’t seem like it came from the company or person that was supposed to have sent it? The email, IM, or text may have had a link that directed you to a familiar website that required you to enter your log in credentials to your account or provide personal information. If this sounds familiar, you may have been a victim of phishing.

Phishing scams are often difficult to identify, which means you may be unaware that your personal information was intercepted. To minimize your risk of becoming a phishing victim, you can protect your information by:

  • Deleting any messages that ask for your: social security number, passwords, credit card or banking information.
  • Not responding to the message or calling any phone numbers listed. Research the company information on their website and contact them directly.
  • Not clicking on any links inside of the message.
  • Verifying the web address/URL by searching the web to confirm the spelling used in the message.
  • Performing a search about the information in the message to see if it has been reported as fraudulent.

A good rule of thumb: If you think the message is questionable, DO NOT take any action and follow up directly with the company by finding their contact information listed on their website.

3. Keep Your Software Updated

An additional safeguard to protect your information is to frequently update your operating system and software applications. When you set up a new computer or mobile device, or install apps, many providers offer the option to automatically update your software. 

Regularly updating your software can help protect your information. Software developers may add security features that prevent easy access to your private, digital data.

4. Update Your Social Media Privacy Settings

When it comes to keeping your information private, you can use social media settings to your advantage. Social media settings that can protect your privacy may include:

  • Limiting your profile visibility to friends only view.
  • Filtering messages to be received from friends only.
  • Hiding your email address and phone from public view.
  • Making sure that your personal information is not public.
  • Setting up a private account.
  • Not sharing your location.
  • Deciding who can see your profile picture.

Privacy settings vary by social media account type, so you should explore the options for each app that you use.

5. Don't Overshare on Social Media

Do you post on social media when you will be going on vacation or spending time with your family? Though your intent is to share your enjoyment with your social network, you may be putting your digital data at risk.  When you post that you are traveling for an extended period of time or spending a few hours away from home, this information could be shared or accessed by criminals who want to gain access to the computers, tablets, and other electronic devices in your home while you are away.

In addition, be mindful of sharing any names or phrases that you use in conjunction with your passwords. When you make password-related information accessible on social media, you create an opportunity for your passwords to be hacked.   

6. Install Security Software

To avoid and alert you to any security breaches of your personal information, install security software directly on your devices. Antivirus software can prevent a virus from downloading itself onto your system. It can also prevent you from becoming a victim of other security risks, such as spyware and identity theft. We can help you protect your digital live with Internet Security & Protection from Consolidated Communications.

7. Don't Access Your Personal Information on Public Computers

When you use a public computer, you may not be able to verify the security features, which puts your personal information at risk. For example, you may be unsure of the level (if any) of antivirus protection and frequency of software updates that exist on the computer.

In addition, public computers may already have spyware or a virus present. These threats could capture your keystrokes, passwords, or additional information listed on any sites that you visit.  When you enter and access your personal information on a public computer, your digital data is vulnerable.

8. Review Your Credit Report Regularly

To ensure that your personal information has not be compromised, you should review your credit report regularly. By taking time to review your credit report, you can look for any activity that you do not recognize. You can access your credit report for each credit reporting bureau for free one time per year. You can also use an app to access your credit report information for free. In addition, some companies offer credit monitoring services that send you alerts if new activity is present on your credit report.

By making choices that lower the risk of your personal information falling into the wrong hands, you can help keep your digital data safe.


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