Let’s face it: it’s not 1990 anymore, and anyone who isn’t already doing the basics when it comes to protecting their personal and business data is just asking for trouble. But as the number of high-profile data breaches increase, and hacking techniques become more sophisticated, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself.
It can be challenging to keep up on all the latest security developments, especially if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, but here are some of the simplest and most effective things you can do to protect your data and keep the hackers out.
#1 Make sure all your data is encrypted.
Data encryption used to be a complicated process, but nowadays, it’s a straightforward way anyone can protect the data on their electronic devices. In fact, most mobile devices have built-in encryption functions to preserve everything on them, and both Windows and Mac devices have their own integrated encryption functions as well. It’s as easy as flipping a switch, and there’s no reason not to do it.
#2 Make sure you’re using antivirus and anti-malware software.
Not having antivirus and anti-malware software on your device is like not having doors on your house: you might as well put a sign outside inviting the bad guys in. You need these applications, and you need to run them on a regular basis…as often as you can manage (overnight works great).
Make sure you keep these applications up to date because if your virus and malware definitions aren’t bleeding edge current, you might as well not have them since new attacks rear their head every day. And along the same lines…
#3 Make sure you download and apply OS updates as soon as possible.
No matter what device you’re using, you’re going to find yourself on the receiving end of a seemingly never ending barrage of updates. Even though our natural tendency may be to put them off to avoid the reboot, these are often security updates to protect against recently-discovered malicious attacks. Apply them as soon as possible.
#4 Wipe your old computer’s hard drive before you get rid of it.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t consider the fact that, just because their old computer has been disposed of, that doesn’t mean the data on it vanishes into thin air. A lot of hackers have been known to get a hold of those old machines and gain access to personal documents, email accounts, pictures, and a plethora of other goodies. Make sure the computer is wiped totally clean before it goes out the door.
#5 Secure your home and office wireless networks.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they set up a wireless network is not changing their router’s default password. The bad guys know the default passwords, they know many people don’t change them, and they’ll drive around trying the default passwords on every wireless router in the neighborhood until they find one where it works. Change the password, and while you’re at it, change the wireless network name as well (and not to something that makes it easy to figure out who it belongs to).
Data security is always going to be a moving target, but advances in desktop security, as well as Android and IOS app development, cover a lot of the ground for you. It’s up to you to make up the difference, and by following the tips above, you will make yourself a much less attractive target to potential attackers.