Basic steps to stay safe!
We know you've been hearing in the news recently about "hacking" of personal photos, credit card and password data. At The Computer Cafe, we have been getting a lot of questions as to the best way to safeguard your personal information online.
There are two things that you should... know right from the start:
- Your online data will never be 100% safe. It is impossible to safeguard your data completely. The best you can do is reduce your risk.
- The only way to keep your data completely safe is to not have it online. In today's world, however, that is also impossible (for all practical purposes).
Since it is impossible, for the most part, to keep from storing at least some data online, there are measures that you can take to minimize your risk of loss, leak or theft.
- Reduce the amount of information that is online (Your digital footprint). Many of us see a new service that we immediately think will help make our lives easier and we join right up. It's shiny, brand new and super cool. After a time if it turns out that you are not using it, then you don't need it. Remove your data and stop the service.
- If you have to store data online be smart about it. Use services & companies that are established, up-to-date and have a good reputation. Only give the information that is needed to establish your account.
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly. No password should contain common words, birth dates, months, years etc. Passwords should be at least 8 characters long, with upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. At a minimum, change passwords when you change the clocks. NEVER use the same password for all of your online services.
- Think twice when sharing your data with others. Your data is your data, only well trusted people should ever have access to your data and only as needed. Anyone can claim to be from Microsoft, or the government.
- Never give passwords to anyone. Just like your data, your password is something that should remain secret even if you no longer use that password. A reputable site will never email you asking for account or password information.
- Never underestimate the value of your data. It may seem like some piece of info is unimportant, but as the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.
- Check privacy settings of your social networks. You are broadcasting yourself online with every status change, update, tweet, post and like. Showing that you are having a great time in Cancun tells the world you are not at home. Post those travel pics when you get back.
- Check with your local IT professionals like us @ The Computer Cafe. We love to give advice to our clients on what we feel is best and safest.
Here are a few of our favorites when it comes to data storage online.
Google Drive: Comes for free with up to 15GB with every Gmail account
DropBox: Free online storage (2GB) for just about anything, auto sync to another computer. Inexpensive upgrades for more storage are available.