The internet has changed our lives in many positive ways but at the cost of our privacy. We are all at risk from criminals, companies and security agencies. A regular digital review should limit your exposure.
- Hardware – Encrypt all your computer and phone/tablet hard drives and make sure you have a secure way of logging in. Set your devices to auto-lock and never leave them unattended while they are connected. If you have sensitive data on USB drives or portable hard drives, you should also encrypt and protect them.
- Passwords – Use complex passwords, all different and administer them with a password manager like Dashlane or LastPass. (Don’t be mean and pay for a good one ). Where you can always enable two-factor authentication.
- Security – Don’t use your Mother’s maiden name as the answer to that question. Change your date of birth and don’t answer any of those “your first” questions with anything real. Most of these answers are matters of public record, so provide no security at all.
- Browser choice – Turn off all the browser spyware on your mobile and computer, better still use FireFox Quantum or Brave. Also, turn off as much of the battery draining and security compromising background apps on your phone.
- Email – Never send any personal information in the clear to anyone, add encryption to your email system or use something like Proton Mail.
- Surveillance – Use a credit agency (although the Experian hack dumped customer’s credentials on to the dark web). Moreover, sign up to https://haveibeenpwned.com/ the site highlights email addresses that have been compromised.
- Free wifi – Don’t expect any free wifi available in a café or public space to be safe. To secure your online session use a Virtual Private Network like Nord VPN
- Online financial institutions – Only communicate with your financial service provides using their messaging service and never delete a message.
- Online Payments – If possible, always use PayPal. If not, use a specific card like Monzo for all debit/credit card transactions. Top it up to cover each purchase from your Current Account. It will limit your exposure to fraud and keeps your main current account card details offline.
- Clean up after yourself – Use Kill Disk to rewrite your hard drives or better never throw one away and if you must throw them away wipe the data, then destroy the disc (hammer and screwdriver work well) and then chuck it.
We all have to take responsibility for this now, no one computer, system or phone can save you from poor digital hygiene. So get with the programme and make it as hard a possible for people to exploit your personal, financial and business data.