The security of personal information is critically important to everyone. Nowadays, we must interact with businesses and other organizations that have a legitimate need to keep track of personal information. Unfortunately, there are always those who seek to illegally gain access to that information online. There are some steps you can take to protect your personal information and identity as you interact online.
Application Usage Security
- Utilize multi-factor authentication when available. This adds a layer of security that can prevent an attacker from logging in to your accounts even if your credentials have been compromised.
- Beware of phishing emails and know how to recognize them as they are one of the main ways attackers seek to gain access to resources. If an email asks you to sign in, go to the known website directly instead of clicking links in an email.
- Use unique strong passwords for different accounts in order to prevent unrelated accounts from being compromised if your credentials have been exposed via a data breach or a successful attack. Do not write down passwords or leave passwords in a visible location. Consider using a password manager to keep track.
- Frequently run system updates as well as updates for software on your computer (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Adobe Reader, Java, Flash) as they are an additional point of vulnerability and need to be patched.
- Use anti-virus software and ensure that automatic updates are enabled.
- In your browser, enable your pop-up blocker and consider installing an ad blocker. Beware of malicious third-party extensions or add-ons in your browser. Ensure that your browser homepage and default search engine are what you selected.
- Immediately disconnect your device from the network if you believe malware has been loaded onto your computer. This prevents malware from spreading to other devices on the same network.
- Encrypt the device that your data is stored on.
- Lock your computer when you walk away. On Windows, press Win + L keys. On Mac, press Ctrl + Cmd + Q keys. On Linux, press Ctrl + Alt + L keys.
- Set your device to require a password after a period of inactivity. Do not enable auto logon upon computer startup.
- If you work in a public location and frequently access sensitive data, consider purchasing a privacy screen to shield data from the gaze of others.
- Consider using a lock or cable to secure your laptop or other mobile device to deter theft.
- Pick up print jobs immediately after printing to avoid information landing in the wrong hands accidentally or intentionally. Alternately, some printers allow you to send a print to a secure user box which holds the print until you release it from the printer itself.