Keeping your Data Safe in the 21st Century
Privacy is a growing concern in the 21st century.
19:03 17 August 2020
Between computers logging your online browsing habits and cell phones monitoring your location, the amount of sensitive data that is generated on a daily basis is staggering.
Moreover, the accessibility of personal or otherwise sensitive information is greater than ever before. Credit card companies use it to determine your credit score, doctors use it to track your health history, and, in some cases, hackers are able to use this data for malicious purposes.
In any case, the need to secure your personal or sensitive data has never been greater. While some governments are beginning to lend a helping hand in this, especially through regulations like the GDPR in the European Union, these laws only go so far. Most of the power and control is still in the hands of the end-user.
Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to help secure your data, including:
Avoid re-using passwords on different websites. If your login credentials are discovered by hackers on one site, they could very well plug the information in to another site. Although it can be difficult to remember your login details for numerous websites, there are software-based password managers that make the process much easier without reducing your overall security.
Use next-gen software for additional protection. While most operating systems provide some amount of built-in protection, it simply isn't enough. For maximum protection, try using a combination of software tools; including encryption, data backup and recovery, malware protection, and more. Since threats can come at you from many different directions, it's important to use a variety of utilities in order to ensure that you're protected on all fronts.
Only visit trusted websites. Many malware and virus infections are a result of the user visiting an unofficial or illegitimate website. Some sites are even designed to mimic official sites – like banks and other financial institutions – to trick the visitor into giving up their information voluntarily. To combat this, and to ease the concerns of users, many sites use the "https" protocol.
Wipe your hard drive. In some cases, consumers and enterprises donate their old systems to local schools, individuals, or other community-centric causes. In this case, it's important to wipe the hard drive clean of any personal or sensitive information. Not only does this give the new user a clean hard drive to work with, but it ensures that your personal information, including documents, photos, and videos, won't be accessed by a complete stranger.
Use password protection to control access. Most operating systems provide a way to protect your device by requiring a password prior to usage. While this might seem like a small, unnecessary, or even annoying feature, it can be extremely helpful when it comes to preventing unauthorized users who might have physical access to your system.
As you can see, there are many different steps you can take to maximize your digital security and minimize your risks. While there is no such thing as a foolproof plan, these tips will make it much more difficult for hackers and potential identity thieves.