With cyber-attacks becoming more oriented toward data theft, it is vital for both businesses and individuals to take extra precautionary methods when it comes to data protection. In order to raise awareness about data protection, the Council of Europe initiated the European Data Protection Day in 2007. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives also recognized this day as National Data Privacy Day or Data Protection Day.
With 2017 playing host to some of the biggest data breaches, it has become clear that not only are attacks increasing in number (ransomware rising 2,502% in 2017), they are also becoming more potent. Personal data shared on online portals or saved on devices can include home addresses, bank details, social security numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information that can be used by malicious attackers.
Here are a few data protection tips to help spread awareness and create a safe cyberspace:
Data Protection Tips for Businesses:
With new threats emerging and pressure being placed on organizations and businesses by governments through laws like the EU GDPR, it is time for board members, information security executives, and all employees to adopt certain measures to protect personally identifiable information (PII).
Update Your Systems and Software: Stay up to date with the latest operating system and additional software updates.
Encryption: Encrypt confidential information shared by employees, partners, and customers.
Password Creation: Enforce strong password usage, with a regular change in passwords every few months.
No External Connections: Avoid using USBs and other external devices on your office system, which can implement the transfer of data from one device to the other. This also includes using USB portals to charge mobile phones and other electronic devices.
Data Backup and Recovery: Consult your information security executives to ensure that you have a strong data backup and recovery procedure that is constantly updated.
Abide by the Law: Make an effort to find out the requirements of your local legislation and ensure that your technologies and policies are in alignment with them.
Data Protection Tips for Individuals:
Families and individuals could also fall prey to malicious cyber-attacks like phishing emails, social engineering, and social media threats. A single click on a link sent by a cyber-criminal could lead to loss of sensitive data or identity theft. Here are a few ways to stay cyber safe:
Avoid Unknown Links: Never click on unknown links, even if the email sender or website does not look suspicious to you.
Create Different Passwords: Use strong and different passwords on your accounts. It is a common practice to use the same password on various accounts, making it easy for a cyber-criminal to gain access to not just one account, but many.
Don’t Share or Store PII: Never store your personal information in your email account or share PII via email, messages, or online applications.
Read the Fine Print: Always read the fine print before giving out personal information to any website, especially while making online purchases.
Avoid Unnecessary Access: Monitor access given to various applications on your mobile phone before installing it onto your device.
Online Precautions: Avoid sharing any personal information on social networking platforms, including your location and email addresses.
Cybersecurity training programs––like the Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU) program by EC-Council––will help you gain the necessary knowledge and skills to protect your data assets. This course will help you and your organization’s employees learn the skills necessary to avoid and tackle computer and network security threats such as credit card fraud, virus and backdoors, phishing attacks, hacking attacks, and social engineering.
You can also learn more on how ransomware can hold your computing device and its files hostage, how you can prevent ransomware from attacking your computer, and what you can do if you find that your data is being held hostage, here.