As online security lapses, data breaches, and exposed information via IoT toys and devices continue to make headlines, how do you keep your digital anxiety from pushing you over the edge?
The bad news can be overwhelming, and with new technologies entering our lives every day, the headlines raise the question, Do we have any control over the security of our personal data when using connected devices and services. The good news? You do have control and can safeguard your information. For National Consumer Protection Week, we have some tips on how you can safely take the reins of your digital life.
Sharing Is Not Always Caring
Attackers can’t hack what isn’t there. The less of your personal data you put online, the safer you are. The fancy term for this is “data minimization,” and it simply means to share as little of your information as you need to. You can do this by asking yourself some basic questions such as:
- Does a social app really need your actual birthday?
- Do you need a toaster that listens to your conversations and sends them to a company’s computers halfway around the world?
- Do you want a kid’s toy that uploads sensitive data to a company’s servers including pictures of your child, recordings of their voice, text chats, etc.?
Take control of your data. Every time you sign up for a new online account, buy a new gadget, get your car serviced, or go on a trip, consider what personal data may be exposed to criminals. Use a unique password for each new account, so even if hackers gain access to it, they’ll have a harder time getting into your other accounts. Think twice about buying that internet-connected appliance or toy. Just say no if a business is asking for your Social Security number, date of birth, access to your social media accounts, or other personal information they don’t really need.
It’s Not All “Cyber”
Data breaches dominate the headlines, but criminals continue to thrive on their old tricks too. They’ll go through dumpsters and mailboxes looking for any information they can use to steal your identity. They’ll call businesses and banks pretending to be you, and replace your contact info with theirs, or reset your password in an effort to take over the account.
But there are old tricks you can use too such as shredding sensitive documents that you don’t need and requesting a mail delivery hold when you’re leaving town. The postal service will save it all for you and deliver it when you’re back home. Also, never offer personal or financial information to anyone who calls you on the phone. You have no idea who they really are, but they will try to convince you otherwise. Call the business back if you need to talk to them or update your account.
You Have Control
You don’t have to be a cybersecurity expert to protect your data. You can use the same rules you learned as a kid:
- Don’t give personal information to strangers.
- Don’t buy things you may not really need.
- Don’t let strangers into your home.
- Always clean up after yourself.
These rules don’t make for exciting headlines, but they will help protect you when tomorrow’s breaches make the news.
Posted by LifeLock Security Communications Director Joe Gervais