Cybersecurity 101: Steps You Can Take To Better Protect Your Data

Cybersecurity 101: Steps You Can Take To Better Protect Your Data

Cybersecurity 101: Steps You Can Take To Better Protect Your Data

Justin Lavelle
March 2, 2019

We rely on the internet and technology for nearly everything we do today. While it might be helpful, it can also present a threat when cyber criminals illegally access online databases.

Personal information like social security numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and more are stolen and sold on the dark web all the time through major data breaches. As these cybersecurity incidents become more common, it’s important to do what you can to reduce your risk of exposure and identity theft.

Steps to Protect Your Data

Whether you suspect your information has been revealed in a breach or you simply want to reduce your risk of identity theft, here are 10 cybersecurity steps that may help you uncover possible exposures and better protect your data in the future.

Step 1: Run a BeenVerified Breached Data Web Scan.

BeenVerified allows you to search some known data breaches to see if certain personal data may have been exposed. If you think your email addresses and account passwords were involved in a breach, you may be able to reduce your chances of identity theft by immediately changing those passwords.

Step 2: Encrypt Your Data.

Encrypting your data will prevent unauthorized access to your information. There are software programs for various devices that help do this coding for you.

Step 3: Back Up Your Data.

In case of certain sensitive and important data, you’ll want to back yours up as often as possible. However, you may want to disable automatic backups, as some devices allow your information to be uploaded to the cloud without you realizing.

Step 4: Invest in Anti-Malware.

Anti-malware protection is often deemed a must-have for all devices. There are many opportunities for your devices to get infected without you even realizing.

Step 5: Update Your Devices.

Keeping your devices up-to-date, while only slightly time-consuming or inconvenient, increases security and prevents risks of threat.

Step 6: Password-Protect Your Network and Devices.

You can create a private network with a password and set up passcodes for all of your devices. Some suggest that you may be better off using a complex “passphrase,” consisting of multiple words and characters, upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and more. Make sure you don’t store your passwords on your devices or write them down for anyone to see. Additionally, never use the same password twice or use personal information (like your name or address) as your password.

Step 7: Use a Firewall.

Firewalls blocks some risks before they even have the chance to infect your device. Accordingly, many experts advise that your best bet would be investing in a hardware-based firewall.

Step 8: Understand Terms and Conditions, and Configure Privacy Settings When Possible.

By agreeing to the terms and conditions of many applications, you may be granting such programs access to more usage data than you realize. Make sure you know exactly how much access these apps have to your information. If the program offers advanced privacy settings to limit data sharing, be sure to configure them to your preferred options.

Step 9: Understand the Apps You Install.

Be careful when installing apps on your devices, and try to do some research to make sure the app creator is a legitimate company. If you download just anything from a third-party app store, you’re opening up the possibility of installing malware onto your device.

Step 10: Beware of Phishy Emails.

Scammers can be tricky. If something seems fishy, it probably is; and even if a message appears to come from a reliable source or email, don’t click any links unless you are positive they’re legit. Hover over links or email addresses to get a full preview of what you’re about to click on/interact with.

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Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.