Updated: Nov 16, 2021
"We all have volumes of valuable information. And now, as we are all staying home, we finally have enough time to take care of it. No more excuses — you can do this,” says Oliver Noble, an encryption specialist at NordLocker.
According to Oliver, taking some simple, proactive steps will go a long way in safeguarding you against many potential digital threats. These include identity theft, loss of funds, credit card fraud, and cyberbullying. The best thing is that all those steps are easy to implement even for non-techies.
Change your passwords. One of the first things you need to do is change your passwords, especially the ones you use for the most important accounts. These include email, social media, favourite shopping websites, financial services, and similar. All passwords should be unique, lengthy, and safely stored. Use a reliable password manager for this.
Update your software and system. Having the latest operating system, web browser, applications, and security software is one of the easiest ways to protect data and keep all devices secure. Updates often include important fixes and repair previous security flaws. If you have no pending updates, that means you are using the most secure versions of all your software.
Back up your files. Nobody wants to lose their data, whether it’s personal files, such as family photos and health records, or work related documents. The easiest way to protect such data is to make electronic copies, or backups. They can be stored in the cloud or some other external storage, for example, a USB stick. This step is especially important nowadays when ransomware attacks on private and business users are getting more and more popular.
Delete unused accounts. You’ve likely been using the internet for long enough to forget some of the accounts you’ve created. However, the forgotten ones pose a real threat. If one of your old accounts is hacked, it can become an open door for cybercriminals to get into your email, Facebook, and even computer or smartphone. So make a list of all your old online accounts and start deleting them. If you decide to keep them, make sure to change their passwords.
Take care of your old devices. Computers, mobile phones, USBs, drives, wearables, networking equipment, even printers or fax machines, and other devices capture and store sensitive, personal information. If you are not using those devices, wipe them clean. Simply deleting files isn’t enough to get rid of them. Use a program that shreds the data completely and wipes it from the device. Only then the information can no longer be retrieved. Another way is performing a full factory reset. Once the device is clean, you can trade it, sell it, give it away, recycle, or have it destroyed.