I am not a nostalgic “oh, the old year is ending, sniffle, sniffle” kind of person nor am I one who makes resolutions which I will never, ever keep. I am, however, a realist who believes in protecting her data as much as possible, so
Here are 5 things I'm doing and I hope YOU'RE going to do right NOW to help yourself be safe online:
- Updated your virus protection program. Yeah, I know. It does it for you. Do it manually anyway. You never know when a program has missed something and cybertheft is all too common. Run it NOW.
- Check your privacy settings on social media. Make sure they're set so that the minimum numbe of people and companies have access to your personal information.
- STOP posting that your location on social media. Why not just hang a “Burglars: Empty House” sign on your front door? Sites get hacked all the time and that “friends of friends” setting on Facebook still means that plenty of people can see your postings. Don't advertise that you're not home.
- Pictures of your kids showing
their names, schools, etc. on ANY website. It's far too easy for
predators to find their prey. Criminals do all sorts of nefarious things with
kids' photos. Just don't post pics of your kids, especially ones
showing their regular locations. And if you have posted, try to take anything that can lead a predator to their location down.
- Back-up your files, pictures, etc. NOW. Seriously. Think about how difficult and heartbreaking it would be to lose all that data and all those precious pictures. Ideally, back up to three different sources and do it regularly. And consider about WHAT you're backing up BEFORE you do it. I don't back-up anything with social security numbers to the Cloud because any site can be hacked at any time.
- Check the apps on your phone and see what permissions they've asked for that you've given. Consider whether that clock app really needs access to your files photos and if the convenience is worth compromising your privacy for.
These six simple little steps are probably the LEAST you can do to try to maintain some security on the web. For more on keeping your personal information safe, visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful New Year!