Technology has infiltrated lives as never imagined, and the more you interact on the Web and through mobile, the more at risk you are for some sort of data hacking intrusion. There are lots of products and services that offer protection, but it does feel like an ongoing game of whack-a-mole to keep everything under constant protection.
Luckily, in most cases, big companies dependent on Internet safety are doing solid work in giving you a relatively safe experience. Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and even banks like Chase know their livelihoods depend on you feeling secure enough to share in the cloud and purchase care free. So they spend tons of money battling the latest efforts by dastardly anarchists.
Even so, it’s entirely possible you will fall victim someday to a hacking that will either crash your computer or steal your data. So the best protection you can have is to be prepared. Here are some tips to give you a little more piece of mind.
- Be attentive with connectivity.
There are lots of good reasons to shut off your computer and phone periodically. It’s harder to hack electronics when they are powered down. Be conscious of where you connect and sites for which you sign up. If you connect based on need rather than impulse, you will reduce your risk.
- Keep the important stuff safe.
I still know the value of paper. I live on my laptop and appreciate the convenience of having all my writing and pictures stored online. But there are some documents that I want to have physically in case anything goes wrong. There is little that won’t fit in a simple notebook or safe deposit box. A little paper is worth a great deal of mind peace.
- Only respond to those you know or can identify.
I have five email addresses and some I have had over a decade. I get lots of spam. Most of it gets caught in the filters, but some doesn’t. The good news is that it’s easy to verify someone through multiple channels these days. If someone I don’t know sends me an email, a simple Google and LinkedIn search will usually verify if they have a reason to communicate with me. And I never ever open attachments I don’t expect or from people I don’t know. There is no joke they can send me that is worth being exposed to a virus.
- Use multiple passwords.
I hate the passwords provided by the software programs like Safari and Chrome. I am sure they are more secure than the ones I create, but if I use HYV3-8jbjD-83bK, I will never remember it, nor will I be able to find it when I need it. So I have a series of unobvious number and letter combinations that have private meaning only to me. I switch periodically and share them with my wife so at least when I forget I can ask and annoy her. It’s no fun being annoyed alone.
- Use the tools the Internet provides.
Luckily, my wife is a huge technology fan. She has everything set up so that if the phone or laptop is stolen, she can immediately wipe the device’s content from the cloud. I believe that on a good day, she can do anything from the cloud, except make it rain… (but she’s working on it). She backs up everything religiously offline and online, while using technology to keep things up to date. You don’t have to be the wiz to do all this stuff, but it helps to have one in the family.
- Be more cautious in sharing.
I know I will never keep everything safe, so I am careful about what I actually share electronically. When it comes to financial information, I use specific credit cards backed by companies like American Express that I know will support me if there is an issue. I use reputable sites and limit my exposure. And speaking of exposure, I have little sympathy for those who had their nude pics stolen from the cloud. I live by this credo: “Never store or communicate anything electronically that you wouldn’t be willing to share with everybody!” It’s truly the only way to get peace of mind since no matter how much you try to prevent it, you still may get hacked. Just make sure you mitigate the risk so you can happily enjoy the rewards of modern technology.