CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (WSIL) — Chances are you’ve already started spring cleaning around your house. But what about your computer?
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have teamed up to remind everyone that when clearing out clutter, don’t forget about the critical need to take action and protect your volumes of valuable information. Taking some simple, proactive steps will go a long way in safeguarding you against any number of potentially disruptive issues – like identity theft, loss of funds or credit card fraud – that can cause mayhem by compromising your data. Take the time to put into practice a few precautionary measures and you will have greater peace of mind – not only this spring but all year round.
· Lock Down Your Login: Both at home and at work, security is critical to protecting highly personal accounts. One of the first things everyone needs to do is ensure that passphrases are lengthy, unique and safely stored. In addition, it is essential to fortify accounts by adopting strong authentication, which adds another layer of protection.
· Update Your System and Software: Don’t procrastinate any longer! Having the latest updates, security software, web browser, and operating system is one of the easiest ways to keep devices secure and protect data. This simple “digital to do” is a must to help keep cybercriminals at bay.
· Back It Up: Protect your personal and workplace data by making electronic copies – or backups – of your most important files. Whether it’s family photos, health records or employee contacts, back up your files this spring and set a schedule to do so regularly throughout the year.
Computers and mobile phones aren’t the only devices that capture and store sensitive, personal data. External hard drives and USBs, tape drives, embedded flash memory, wearables, networking equipment and office tools like copiers, printers and fax machines all contain valuable personal information and stored images.
· Clear out stockpiles: If you have a stash of old hard drives or other devices – even if they’re in a locked storage area – information still exists and could be stolen. Don’t wait: wipe and/or destroy unneeded hard drives as soon as possible.
· Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices, and be certain to wipe and overwrite: Simply deleting and emptying the trash isn’t enough to completely get rid of a file. You must permanently delete old files. Use a program that deletes the data, “wipes” it from your device and then overwrites it by putting random data in place of your information ? which then cannot be retrieved.