July 22, 2019
Hacking is becoming big news. Data breaches like Ashley Madison or the ransomware-based City of Baltimore hack, where a massive amount of money was demanded from the US Government to regain access to their municipal systems, are examples of how cyber security threats affect everyone, no matter the value of their data.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a valuable tool for enterprise and corporate customers who need to safeguard their data, but there are easy steps anyone can take to ensure data is kept as safe as possible.
Use long passwords with numbers and letters in a mix
Make sure your passwords include at least one number, one capital letter and one other character. This is by no means all you must do but a good way to get you to start thinking about data best practices.
Three-word passwords used to be recommended but are not foolproof. Combining the two principles or using automatic password generators will create passwords that are almost impossible to crack. If you find it hard to remember them all, an app like 1password or LastPass will help you remember what they all are.
Memorable information: Make sure it’s easy to remember!
True story – A friend of mine set up an online account and she decided to make her own security questions, one of them being “how old is my child?” Obviously, a child’s age changes, so make sure you’re choosing questions and answers that you can remember and don’t change with time. For example, rather than asking, “What colour is my car?” go with, “What colour was my first car?”
Back up regularly – cloud or hard drive?
Making sure you have a recent copy of your information is key. What if your laptop is stolen or if there’s a fire and all your data goes up in smoke? Making sure you have a copy of your current data ensures you can still operate if something unexpected happens, so decide where you want to keep your data and how best to periodically update it.
Keep your systems and anti-virus updated
Hacks typically use a combination of phishing attacks and physical vulnerabilities on computer hardware. Keeping up to date with any updates from hardware and software manufacturers, as well as having a current anti-virus solution, will safeguard you as much as possible.
Be aware of phishing attacks
Phishing is the process of creating an email or website that looks exactly like a real company’s version, that directs you to enter confidential password or memorable information which is then sent to the ‘phisher’. If you ever find a message or email that either doesn’t look normal or asks for information you’ve never had to give before, contact the company through methods you know are correct to verify the message is real before proceeding.