Data is quickly becoming the most invaluable resource of the modern age, but unfortunately, it seems like many people are still largely in the dark with regards to how they should treat and protect it. There are many traps that you can potentially fall into if you’re not careful, and having to deal with a major data breach is not something exclusively limited to large corporations. It can happen to all of us, and it’s important that we know what to do in those cases.
Use Encryption When Possible
Encrypting your information should be done by default these days, especially considering how easy it is and how convenient the relevant applications are. You can easily keep your whole hard drive locked down tightly with just a few clicks, and you won’t have to do anything more complicated than simply remember your passkey. However, make sure that you do remember it, as there is no way to recover an encrypted hard drive that you’ve forgotten the credentials for. After all, that’s your main motivation for wanting to encrypt in the first place, right?
Don’t Give Up Your Real Identity Easily
Try not to use your real name whenever you can get away with it. Even though many sites may try to trick you into giving up your identity as soon as you try to sign up for them, that’s often not in your favor. You don’t gain anything from letting sites know what your name is and where you live, unless you’re actually ordering something from them or otherwise paying for a service. Don’t make the mistake of treating your identity lightly, and remember that it’s the most attractive target for many attackers. Once they have that, they can potentially impersonate you and do a lot to make your life miserable.
Don’t Accept New Contact Requests Automatically
Another common trick attackers regularly use is to introduce themselves as someone interested in chatting with you, usually someone of the opposite sex, and then trying to get you to visit a specific website that they’ve set up. Don’t get your hopes up. There are no candid pictures or anything along those lines at those sites, only links to viruses that will try to compromise your computer and steal your information. They might also try to trick you into spending some time with them “in private”, perhaps even exchanging nude pictures or something along those lines. Make no mistake though, this will only lead to blackmail and nothing else.
Have a Backup
Last but not least, it’s critical that you always have a good backup of your data stored somewhere securely. While you may not be able to block every single type of attack from getting through, what you can do is ensure that a breach is not as devastating as it could be. To this end, keeping a running backup of all your data can help a lot, and it will also ensure that you can access your old files in case you mess something up yourself. Don’t fall for the trap of thinking that you can’t do anything wrong with your computer, even if you’re experienced in its use, that’s how many people lose their data.
All in all, a little vigilance can go a long way towards helping you stay safe and ensuring that your data remains where it should be in the first place. Don’t trust suspicious contacts, make sure that you’re aware of what sites you’re visiting, and try to have some sort of protection running in the background too. The rest comes down to having some common sense and enough experience with computers and the Internet.