Data Privacy Day was January 28th, and of course we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to remind you to protect your data! We’re pleased that Donnie McBride, our compliance guru, agreed to share his expert advice with us.
Lock Your Mobile Devices
Be sure your laptop, phones, and tablets have the lock screens enabled. If these aren’t locked, you’re not just risking the phone or device; you’re risking all the accounts on the device that automatically log you in. That means you risk information about your friends, contacts, and all your past emails, messages, and pictures. PINs are better than patterns, and fingerprints can be better than PINs. Any of these methods are better than nothing at all.
Encrypt Your Data
Encryption is the best way to keep your data safe. When you visit important web sites, make sure there is a lock icon next to the site URL. And be sure to encrypt your laptops and mobile devices –and safely store the password. If you lose the password or PIN, you lose everything. Apple makes encryption painless by using your Apple ID account. It’s usually worth the risk, especially when combined with the Find my iPhone feature, which can provide additional assistance when your device is lost. You can also do this on Android with a good app, and there’s Bitlocker for Windows.
Use Two Factor Authentication
You should have two factor authentication or two step verification enabled for each of your important and primary accounts, such as: online banking, Apple ID, Google account, Facebook, Snapchat, and even OU where available. Most sites provide it. There is some initial setup for two factor authentication. It will take some work in the beginning, but it makes you much safer in the long run. Just don’t ask philosophical questions like, “Is it two factor if you log in with the same cell phone?” Philosophy always drove me crazy.
Review your Share Settings
One of the fastest growing problems concerning security and privacy is oversharing on social media and cloud services. I hate to say it, but you really do need to review those Facebook, Dropbox and Google Drive settings. Leaving them at their defaults is like pouring in the manufacturer’s recommended amount of laundry detergent. It’s wasteful and unnecessary, and depending on what you share it can get you into trouble. Don’t use defaults that allow you to share to everyone. Force yourself to think each time you post whether you really need this information to be seen by someone. Facebook has a pretty good privacy wizard, while Apple and Dropbox make it relatively painless.
Use Caution with Links in Emails
The best defense against phishing is training yourself not to click a link in an email. Use bookmarks for all of your important sites, and if you don’t have it bookmarked, use Google. Always try to use primary sources for contact information, such as the directory or address book in your email app or the phone number on the back of your credit card, insurance card, and OU ID.