Your name, address, date of birth and social security number. It might not sound like much, but this information is incredibly valuable to hackers.
This is all the information needed to open a credit card, apply for a loan, or just ruin your credit score.
The effects of identity theft can be devastating on a person’s life and can have a lasting impact on your ability to buy a home, rent a car, or even travel. Unfortunately, we’re all still playing into the fraudster’s hands by failing to protect our personal data, and the rise of laptops, tablets and mobile devices is likely to blame.
Before you fall, a victim of these avoidable crimes, consider the following tips…
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Encrypt Your Device
NASA is known for their complex technology, and you’d think put a fair amount of effort into securing their information.
However, in 2012, a NASA laptop was stolen with the details of over 10,000 employees on board.
The laptop was password protected but not encrypted.
If it can happen to NASA, it can happen to you!
Encryption goes beyond device password protection and ensures that the data isn’t accessible to anyone who shouldn’t have access to it, so if your computer, tablet or phone falls into the wrong hands, you know that it will be useless to them.
Stop Connecting To Any Network
In our quest for information and connectivity, we often find ourselves toying with the idea of joining an unknown wifi network just to get online for a few minutes.
This could potentially be a phishing scheme by scammers hoping to gain access to your device.
When you arrive in a coffee shop with free wifi, always confirm the name of the wifi network before connecting.
And if your phone is currently set up to join the nearest open network, you might want to change that asap.
Switch To The Cloud
If your laptop, tablet or phone is stolen, there’s little chance you’re going to see it again, so you can kiss your folders and files goodbye.
We often fail to act until it’s too late, but if you want to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, you should consider switching to the cloud.
Storing your data in the cloud will mean that only you have access to it, even if your device falls into the wrong hands.
If your device goes missing, you simply revoke access from a remote location and then all you’ve lost of the physical device, not the valuable information stored on it.
Be Careful What You Access
If you’re on an open, public network, it might not be the best time to try to access your online banking.
Although your online banking will have end-to-end encryption, meaning that no one will be able to intercept it, there’s another threat you might not have considered.
People trying to access your information IRL. You never know who might be peeking over your shoulder and trying to gain access to your accounts.
Rebecca Harper is a freelance tech journalist living in London. She has developed strong relationships with many startups and established organizations, including BCN group one of the friendliest providers of cloud services Manchester has to offer.