Securing Your Personal Data
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
Your personal data can be a valuable, but also vulnerable thing if you don't take the necessary precautions to protect it. Here is our best advice for doing just that.
Use Diverse Passwords
Having the same password for all of your accounts is dangerous because if one account gets compromised, or your data gets sold by that company, then it cause a lot of your other accounts to be compromised as well. We go more into detail on data sharing in a previous blogpost that you can find on our website, but in short, free websites or web services are not actually free. When you sign up, your data from that site becomes the product. At this point, they can take your data and sell it to advertisers who will try to market their products to you specifically based off the insights from the data they’ve received. Most of the time this is a completely okay process. However if your data is given or sold to a company that cannot be trusted, they may take your information and see how many accounts they can compromise using that information. So, by having the same password, it leaves you much more vulnerable.
Use Complex Passwords
This means something that is not pronounceable, with many different symbols, capitals, lowercase and numbers. Even if you are working with a privacy-minded companies who won’t sell your data, there are still bots and hackers out there. Hackers will try to crack into your account by attempting passwords until they get in. If you don’t have a complex password, you’re making it easier for your account (or multiple accounts) to be compromised.
Never Remember Passwords?
A great way to manage your passwords is to use a password manager software. This will keep track of your passwords on certain websites and accounts that you have. Because this is usually cloud-based, you can use your password manager on any device, from anywhere. You can also generate extremely complex passwords and save them with the software. When you are logging in, you have the option for your password manager to auto-fill in your password. Otherwise you can just login to your password manager using master password and copy and paste whatever password you need from there. An important part to storing all of your passwords this way is to have a backup! You do not want to rely on this manager and then not be able to remember any of your passwords because something happens. In addition to that, make sure that the password manager you’re using is well known and trusted among a large community of people. Look at reviews, see what people are saying. You need one you can trust.
More Pointers to Securing Data:
The strongest password in the world is not going to help you if you are not using a protected device or network. If a hacker can key-log what you’re typing into a website it doesn’t matter what your password is.
Make sure that you’re connected to a secure network, meaning that you aren’t typing in your bank account passwords in an airport or coffee shop, where you cannot be sure of their security.
Always having your Firewall up and updated.
Keep up with updates for all the applications you use, whether that’s Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or just your OS in general- make sure everything stays up to date.
Have a good antivirus is important for protection from anything that may be trying to breach your security.
On top of all of that, the last and final thing that we implore you to do for a secure system is to keep changing your passwords. Even if you use extremely complex passwords, websites can get compromised out of your control and it’s always important to update your passwords as time goes on. If you can, every 30 days is a great time mark to use for a password changes.