The minute we start talking about cyber security, the risks of being hacked and the damage it can do, people begin to panic. There are a few simple things we can do to reduce the risk and take that fear down a few notches. We at White Knight Consulting wanted to share a few easy steps that will set you in the right direction.
INVEST IN A CROSSCUT SHREDDER. Once you throw your papers in the trash it becomes public domain and is no longer your property. Protect your details and shred those papers before you throw them away.
COMPLEX PASSWORDS. Too many people use names and dates that can be easily guessed by looking at their social media. The key to a good password is to use a short sentence from a song, book or poem, throw in a few capital letters and top it off with some numbers and symbols. An example: wHydontYouLeave79&
DUAL AUTHENTICATION. Nowadays all social media platforms, quality email services and online accounts offer dual authentication. This means that when you login, they either send you a pass code via email or text, or they have some form of app with a code based on an algorithm. This gives an additional layer of security and if someone manages to get your password, you’ll get a warning that someone attempted to enter your account.
UPDATE PASSWORDS REGULARLY. Create a calendar reminder to change your passwords at least once every 6 months.
PASSWORD 2.0. How often do you send files with sensitive information to your banker, attorney, doctor or CPA? Make sure that those files are password protected and that you call and give the password over the phone. Nowadays most scanners enable you to set a password when you scan a document.
DELETE. Make sure you regularly purge your trash, as that is one of the first places hackers will go looking for information. Also delete your sent emails, which is the second place a hacker will go fishing for info. If you are concerned the files you sent are important, ensure they are password protected and saved on either your hard drive or in the cloud.
LOCK YOUR CREDIT. We all have a social security number that needs protecting. Ensure you have accounts with all three credit agencies, Transunion, Experian and Equifax, as they all offer dual authentication. Once you have signed up and have an account, lock your credit. With your credit locked, you cannot apply for a credit card, open a bank account, apply for credit, or open a relationship with Comcast, AT&T or your local utility. By locking your credit, you are no longer an easy target for people trying to steal your identity.
LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA. In today’s world, people live their lives on social media and tend to share their personal details. Hackers can easily access this information and use it to guess passwords and security questions. Be mindful and don’t share anything you wouldn’t want a hacker to get his hands on.
If you follow these 8 easy steps, your risk level will drop significantly and you’ll be able to sleep easier at night knowing that you are protected. Your cost is a few hours of your time and less than $100; your savings – immeasurable