As a company that offers secure business storage, is ISO 27001 certified and has an active interest in cyber security (which we’ve blogged about here and here) the recent scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data got us thinking more about our personal security online. The internet has become an integral part of our lives and it is the rare person who doesn’t routinely click acceptance of terms and conditions without reading, provide some personal details for a discount or use duplicate passwords for different accounts. The GDPR should help to eradicate some of this but ultimately, the responsibility for keeping our personal data secure lies with us. So just how do we do this is a constantly connected world?
First of all, when it comes to the giant that is Social Media, the best bit of advice we’ve found is to be cautious about just what personal information you post. Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can easily use trial and error to guess passwords. A child’s name, your hometown or where you went to college can all be found on social media and are all commonly used subjects for passwords. Persistently attempting a different combination of letters and numbers can lead to a password being guessed. Ensure that you have customised security settings for each social media channel that you have a presence on and periodically review these, particularly if a change to security settings has been announced. As a general rule, look at your personal information and think about how you’d feel if a stranger had this. Of course, you’d probably be happy to give a stranger your name and email, but what about your phone number, full address and date of birth? If a social media channel asks for information that you wouldn’t be content to give to a stranger, make sure that the privacy settings are set high around this. Be wary of who you accept on social media and, if for any reason, a person makes you feel suspicious or uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to use the ‘blocking’ tool that many networks offer.
We all lead busy lives and it can be very tempting to tick off some of your To Do list on the train or bus into work. Yet sending any secure information over public wifi could lead to it being compromised. Try to avoid inputting any banking details or passwords over this sort of network, which you most often find in coffee shops, on trains and in hotels and libraries, unless it is run by someone that you know and trust. Make it an aim to try to only use password protected connections when outside your home. Check if the website you are using has privacy settings (these can be found by navigating to Account Settings or a Control Panel) and make sure to always sign out of your account before logging off. For important accounts, check and see if they offer two step authentication. If you login to your Google account from a new device, for example, they will text or email a verification code to your mobile number or second email address. Other accounts ask for the answer to a secret question or PIN while banks quite often send out keypads for that extra level of security. Someone who has simply guessed your password won’t be able to access your account without going through the second step making it much harder for your data to be accessed without your knowledge.
Try to apply the same rules that you use for web access and sensitive data in your business world to your personal life. We’ve blogged about our top tips here but in general, make sure that if you enter financial information onto a website that it is secure (there is a padlock symbol and the address begins with https://), be mindful of clicking on any suspicious links in emails and make sure that you securely dispose of hard drives if you get a new computer (we actually offer this service!)
We hope you found this blog useful! If you have any other questions about the services we offer please just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 020 3234 0090.