Technology

7 Practical Tips to Protect Your Personal Data

You can always repair your computer or buy a new one. Likewise, apps and operating systems can be re-installed when they fail. The only thing you can’t replace is your data. It’s the most valuable thing on any of your devices. 

Our data is everything. It’s the pictures and videos from special occasions. It’s the work we do. It’s the content we’ve downloaded. That’s why it’s a prime target for cybercriminals. And that’s why you should take extra measures to protect it. 

Encrypt Your Data 

The simple truth is that if a file is valuable to you, then it is worthwhile to hackers. Nowadays, cybercriminals don’t target data for the personal information they contain to steal identities. Instead, they often target users through ransomware attacks. These attacks involve encrypting victim’s files and not giving away the key until they pay a hefty ransom. Ransom fees have cost over $11 billion this year alone. 

But encryption can work in your favor too. You can protect your data by using file encryption services like Nordlocker. Encryption works to safeguard your data with the highest levels of security technology. The only person who can access your files is you. But encryption alone won’t save you from the consequences of a ransomware attack…

Back-Up Often

Cyber threat prevention is the best way to control the damage of ransomware attacks and other types of data loss. In this case, prevention measures include file encryption and backups. And they work best together. 

Most people aren’t sure how often they should back up. Ask yourself, how much data can you afford to lose if you suffer a system failure or data breach. Is a week okay? What about an hour? Answer honestly and you will know how often you should back up. 

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Both Windows and Mac have built-in backup services that you should always enable. You should also back up to a cloud server like Carbonite or CrashPlan Pro. Both have small annual fees and offer other great features for business. 

Password Protect Documents

Nowadays, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and similar tools allow you to use passwords to protect individual documents. You can find this option under the security tab in the settings. 

You have many options when it comes to securing files. You can enable different passwords to open and make changes to the document. You can also select a different type of encryption. Do note that this type of protection is somewhat easy to break for most hackers. But it’s an excellent option to use when you work with files away from your computer or on the go.

Defend Against Malware 

There is an infinite number of cybersecurity threats on the internet. But the vast majority of them don’t target a single user. Instead, most cybercriminals rely on mass malware attacks to increase the number of potential victims. 

Malware comes in many different forms, including viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, and more. You can find it in links, files, websites, photos, and software. And yes, both Macs and PCs are susceptible to attack. Most OS have in-built features to protect themselves from malware; for example, Windows Defender scans files in the background. But it’s better to use programs like Malwarebytes to scan for additional threats. And of course, you need to learn to recognize suspicious emails and websites to avoid downloading malware in the first place. 

Overwrite Deleted Files 

You may not realize it, but when you delete files, that doesn’t mean they’re gone. Often, the data stills exist, and IT professionals or hackers can still recover it. Thus, when erasing sensitive files, you need to make sure they are really gone. In other words, you need to overwrite them. 

Overwriting creates a series of ones and zeroes over the old data, so it’s as if never existed. macOS has a built-in secure delete feature that is effective. For Windows, you’re better off using third-party tools like Blank and Secure or Eraser, which make it easy to delete files. 

Change Your Passwords 

When was the last time you’ve changed your passwords? If you use many devices or log in to your accounts in a public setting, you should change your passwords at least once every ninety days. You can see if your password has been stolen. Consider also using a password manager like Dashlane to create unique, secure passwords while storing them all in one app. 

Use Two-Factor Authentication 

Two-factor authentication (2FA) utilizes text messages, emails, or other tools to log you into accounts. Many platforms, including banks, are making 2FA a standard practice. 2FA provides an extra layer of security by only allowing login via authorized devices. It will also give you supplementary information such as the location of the login attempt, time, and what device attempted access. 

2FA is super easy to use and only slows down your access by a few seconds. Apps like Google’s Authenticator makes 2FA even more convenient for you. 

One Comment

  1. Great tips! I do not follow them all but I believe I should have to.. I was using “Veracrypt” for files encryption and it was a quite great tool (but not enough when it comes to pricing). Some time ago I registered for a freemium “NordLocker” version (it gives 5 gb of encryptable data), I’ve lots of files on my pc, so I hit this limit quickly and already upgraded it. Found a coupon “unlock42” (if somebody would like too).

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