Sometimes I feel like I am reading about cyber security facts the way I read about nutritional facts. ‘You should do this. You shouldn’t do that.’ Everyone has their opinion and solutions for all different situations. I remember when we were told to cut all fat out of our diet. Now fat is okay, even helpful some say. It gets exhausting. The perfect solution keeps changing. Cybersecurity, like nutritional dieting, you feel like throwing up your hands and saying, “I give up! I can deal with it anymore.” Obviously, that wouldn’t be the smartest reaction.
I was doing a security presentation a few mornings ago, and someone blurted out “Hey, if someone wants your personal information, they can get it.”.
I stood up, pointed my finger in her face and with a strict voice, I said, “Yes. And if someone wants to break into your home, they can. That doesn’t mean you leave your doors unlocked!”
Of course, I didn’t do or say that. But, don’t think I didn’t feel like it.
Protecting your PI is a hassle; I get it. But repairing your credit and identity after a vicious attack is devastating. Ask someone that had to learn the hard way. It pays to protect yourself.
Last year I was at an open house at Data-Tech when a cyber security IT presenter spoke about internet security. He described protection measures in a very common sense way–in layers. That was an excellent way to describe it.
Back to the house locking scenario. Locking your doors, locking your windows, setting your alarm, cameras, motion lights, living in a gated community, and maybe you having a bulldog right inside your door is your method of security. All these have they’re a functional part in securing your home. Some nor all guarantee your home will not be broken into. But, you will agree, won’t you, that all of these defenses can thwart a break in. And all of these measures are better than just one. Correspondingly, with security measures, ‘more is better’ in cyberspace. After all, Locks are to keep the honest people out’.
We need layers, and we need to share knowledge. Layers of cyber security and protecting your identity can be, but not restricted toD the following:
- Change your password more often; at least every six months. 63% of credit fraud is because of weak or common passwords. Don’t use one password for everything. Don’t keep the same one and just change the last letter or number.
- Gas stations are notorious for fraudulent activity. Always use pumps that can be seen by the clerk. The chance of someone inserting deceptive devices like a card reader is less likely than the pumps hidden from the registrar.
- Do not open emails that you do not recognize the sender. Just delete them.
- Never go to online bank or credit card accounts from email. Open a new tab/window.
- Use credit cards instead of bank cards online. Have a special one with a low balance.
- Speak softly when you have to give your social security number or date of birth in public. No need to broadcast your personal information to others that are waiting in line.
- Shred your documents. Buy a good shredder. Cheap ones do not shred well.
- Don’t give information over the phone from an incoming call. Always look up the phone number online. Enter the number on your favorite search engine with the word ‘scam’ and ‘reviews’ behind it.
- Lie when you are filling out social media information or other types of popups that ask for your birthdate. It’s nobody’s business what year you were born.
- Don’t leave mail in your mailbox for days. Many pieces of mail have your personal information. Especially credit card offers.
- ALWAYS UPDATE. On your phone or computer, updating will keep security patches updated.
- Passing the cursor over addresses or links often give you a hint. If they do not look right; don’t click.
- If you feel your computer has been compromised, turn off and unplug your computer immediately. Often you can disconnect the malware before it infects.