Help! I Love the Internet, But My Identity and Data Are Up For Grabs -- Should I Just Unplug?!
In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we at Centrify are doing what we can to help you to be #CyberAware. The theme for the first week is around simple steps to online safety.
Have you ever considered how to protect your privacy or identity while "online"? Have you noticed over the last few years how many times your data has been stolen or exposed by hackers? Have you observed that most of these breaches were from systems where you were counting on "them" to keep the information safe? Did you ever think that US Office of Personnel Management would lose its data? You probably did not imagine that Equifax would lose 143 million SSNs either. Well, having just mentioned a few breaches, let's remember the real scorecard looks like this..... just since 2013:
Breach Level Index report as of 9.29.17
So your records and information are out there. Assuming you are not going to unplug what can you do to make yourself safer?
4 Tips to Stay Safe Online
First, consider a credit freeze. This means that no one will be able to open up new credit using your name and SSN. Creditors will be unable to even look at your credit record without your permission. Once you have completed this you will probably ask yourself why you did not do it years ago. Most of us do not seek credit but a few times a year at most, so you don't need people to have access to your credit unless you are applying for credit -- in which case you will know the name of the entity wanting to look at your report. Moreover, you can specifically allow them access for a temporary period of time after which your credit will go back to being frozen. For more on this, I recommend this great article by Brian Krebs.
Next, consider using a password manger to keep your various passwords complex, randomized and encrypted. Add Screen locks to all your devices (prevents random people from accessing your device if you leave it unattended or lose it). And, consider getting a lock for your snail mailbox to prevent physical mail theft or tampering. Third, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your important financial accounts so that even if your password is stolen or guessed, the bad guys still won't be able to get into your account. You should also keep your devices updated with the latest system patches and updates so that you have as few vulnerabilities as possible that hackers can exploit to get at you.
Lastly, do not access financial accounts from public WiFi spots and avoid clicking on links in email unless absolutely necessary. I also recommend reading some of the articles below to pick up on some more tips to protect yourself. It is a great time to use all the technology we have to make our lives easier, but it is now time to take extra care and sacrifice some convenience in the name of safety.
Check out the below links to stay safe online:National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Lock Down Your Login IdentityTheft.gov