Email scams may be responsible for many data breaches you hear about on the news, but there are also risks associated with simple online activities that most of us engage in daily. We routinely send and
receive email and instant messages and browse the internet, all of which could make us vulnerable to information security breaches. In fact, while performing these activities, you may unwittingly engage in
some of the riskiest behaviors, including:
- Carrying sensitive information on a laptop when traveling or working on a laptop without a privacy screen when traveling
- Not deleting information on computers when it’s no longer necessary to retain it
- Sharing passwords or using universal login credentials
- Connecting computers to the internet through an unsecure wireless network
- Using the same login credentials for multiple websites
- Using generic USB drives not encrypted or safeguarded by other means
- Losing a USB drive containing confidential data
Reducing Your Risk
The good news is that we can manage these risks by following these few sensible tips.
1. When you no longer need certain information, delete it from your computer.
2. When traveling, keep your computing devices physically secure, password protected, and encrypted (if possible).
3. Only connect to wireless networks you can trust. Connecting to free or random networks makes it easier for cybercriminals to capture and monitor your online activity.
4. Use different login credentials (usernames and passwords) for different accounts. Never use the same passwords for your work or bank accounts as those you use for your personal accounts (e.g., Facebook or Twitter).
5. Enable encryption or remote wiping on your mobile phone. That way, if the phone is ever lost or stolen, you can be sure that the information will be unreadable or unobtainable by anyone who gets their hands on your phone. Be sure to regularly back up your device so that no information is lost!
By staying aware of these common risks and adhering to the advice shared here, you can rest a bit easier knowing that you’re a step ahead of the game—and of the cybercriminals!