In the modern world, sadly, everybody is a target for data theft. Some people, however, are more of a target than others. If you own assets and/or have influence over a business (or government), then you are a very desirable target for data thieves. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to protect yourself.
Keep your digital security up to standard
These days, most individuals are going to have a lot of digital assets to protect. Businesses will probably have even more. This means that you need robust processes in place to ensure that you are always operating to the very highest levels of security. The good news is that most digital security can be summed up in three key points.
- Protect your devices
- Protect your accounts
- Protect your data
Protecting your devices essentially means equipping them with the best security protection available. What this means in practice will depend on the device. For example, laptops can have both software protection and be physically locked to a desk. Cells and tablets often now support biometric authentication and can definitely have security protection. Smart devices, by contrast, often have to depend on firmware updates.
Protecting your accounts typically amounts to taking authentication seriously. At a bare minimum, use genuinely unique and strong passwords for each account you have. If you have problems remembering these, consider using a password manager. It is a single point of failure but it can still be much less risky than using weak passwords.
Ideally, you should combine strong passwords with some other form of authentication. This could be either a single-use code or biometric data (e.g. a fingerprint). You may even choose to use both, for example, if you need to protect highly secure data.
Protecting your data
It is impossible to overstate the importance of protecting your data. What’s more, data protection can be summed up in three steps. Firstly, minimize the amount of data you hold. Secondly, minimize the number of people who have access to it and minimize the level of access they have. Thirdly ensure that any sensitive data is always kept encrypted.
Encryption is vital to modern security because it means that your data is useless to anyone who does steal it. If you have strong encryption and an effective backup system, then you are well-placed to bounce back from any attack with minimal inconvenience.
Verify people in the real world
The world of cybercrime is always developing. In particular, it’s always becoming more sophisticated. Data thieves are moving away from old-school “spray-and-pray” attacks (although they’re certainly still around). Instead, they’re moving towards attacks based on social engineering. In other words, they’re returning to old-school con artistry.
Just like old-school con artists, data thieves can be extremely persuasive and convincing. This means that you cannot simply rely on your instincts before you decide whether or not someone can be trusted. You must undertake objective checks and these need to be thorough.
For example, if you receive copies of important documents, then it’s advisable to check that these have been properly notarized. If someone claims that they are having difficulty going to a notary’s office (perhaps due to COVID19) then you can make them aware of remote notarization by OneNotary.us. If the person is legitimate, they will be happy to arrange for their documents to be remotely notarized. If they’re not, then this is a major red flag.