The technological and digital revolution has completely transformed the way we live and opened entirely new doors for humanity. With the internet at our fingertips and an ever-expanding array of tools at our disposal, it seems that there is no challenge we cannot overcome. However, with great power comes the rest of it. In this case, "the rest of it" is a series of security and privacy challenges that expand as quickly as our ability to counteract it. If you're struggling with how best to meet new challenges of digital and technological security, here are six basic steps to get you started.
To help keep your passwords and your data secure, make sure to install an antivirus software that will protect and occasionally check your devices for harmful malware. Malware is more than just the virus that breaks your computer. It might be a ransomware that locks up your hard drive and holds your data hostage or spyware that monitors you and sells your valuable information.
Some spyware is actually not malware, per se. A lot of apps ask permission to look at your data and use your data in the user agreements you never read. Sometimes, these permissions are necessary in order for the app to function. For example, a photo editing app does need permission to look at your photos. Does it really need to know your location and access your search history, though? Make sure to check permissions periodically, in order to ensure that your apps aren't spying on you.
As for ransomware attacks, malware can only hold your data hostage if you don't have your data backed up already. Consequently, it's a good idea to set up a system that regularly backs up all your data in a secure location, for safety.
You may be wondering what constitutes a secure location for your data. Obviously, a physical hard drive or storage system can be a great option, if you have the skills and resources to set one up that will accommodate all your data. Cloud storage systems are also becoming popular: they are widely available in places with decent internet access, and they are relatively inexpensive and convenient. However, they are not always as secure as a physical hard drive in your home. In reality, the safest solution is to have multiple backups in multiple locations, for maximum data security and access.
On the surface this is the easiest step, but just keeping your password secret isn't always enough. Passwords should be long and have a variety of symbols to make them harder to crack, and it's best to have different passwords for different websites, in case any one password gets cracked. A good multi factor authentication solution can add an extra layer of security to your passwords.
Your best in the fight to keep your technology safe and secure is common sense. Don't share passwords or other personal data with anyone. Change your passwords regularly. Learn to recognize suspicious links and likely scams. Don't download strange files or programs if you don't know that they are safe. This is going to be a lot harder if you didn't grow up on the internet, but it's a skill that can be learned, no matter how old you are. Remember, most of these scams and malware are designed to target the ignorant, unaware or otherwise vulnerable. A little caution and common sense goes a long way towards keeping you safe.
Technological and cyber security are the never ending struggles of modern life. These steps are deceptively simple, on the surface. Manage your passwords, keep up to date with your antivirus, monitor app permissions, backup regularly, make sure your data is securely stored and exercise common sense. However, each step is more complicated than it first appears, and keeping up with all six can be a challenge. With a little work, you can make these safety precautions a habit.