By Saurabh Mishra
When Ashley Madison data got outed by a group of hackers, it stirred a hornets’ nest causing heartaches and splits, far and wide. From adult sites that don’t remove your data even after you delete your account to phishing scams, identity theft and prying eyes of your family, your personal and private data isn’t safe anymore. Here are some ways to guard your most valuable asset.
1) Encrypting your data
No more for enterprises only, you can now find many free ways to encrypt your personal data. Encryption makes your data unreadable and safe, and once encrypted you can breathe easy leaving your data on external or shared hard drives. While deleting sensitive data like images, old bank statements etc. it’s better to encrypt them and delete, to prevent misuse if someone restores them back.
2) Vault Apps for mobile phones
We know how annoying it is when your kid snatches your phone and starts opening media folders. An easy way of encrypting stuff on mobile phones is through vault apps. Android users can download vault apps from Google play store and push their private photos, videos and other sensitive information into innocuous looking folders and lock them up.
3) Using anti-virus and keeping your OS up to date
All of us are guilty of skipping operating system and software updates, and hate paying that extra something for updating our anti-virus. Never, never skip this routine. Software and system upgrades often contain vulnerability patches and security updates, while anti-virus protects against common malware. Keeping these updated, adds a layer of protection to your private data, which would otherwise be vulnerable to hacking.
4) Sync and cloud backup
Data sync and auto back-ups often cause more harm than good. In utter innocence, you agree to sync or back-up your data and before you know, all your Facebook chats, WhatsApp conversations and everything else that you particularly don't want backed up stays on forever. Stay alert when configuring your smartphone or gadget and do not sync or agree to backup all data. WhatsApp chats stay stored in your WhatsApp database folder even after clearing them. It’s good to periodically go through the root directories and clean up.
5) The mighty password
If ‘Password123’ or its variation where zero replaces o is how you secure your accounts, you are in grave danger. Strong passwords, image gateways, two-step verifications and more importantly, different passwords for different accounts can keep your account data safe. Most of us tend to keep the same password for all accounts. If a non-sensitive account, say, an online shopping account of yours gets breached, it won’t take much time for hackers to break into your bank account if passwords are same or similar.
6) Free wi-fi networks
These are literally hackers’ paradise, as online thieves ‘sniff’ or steal credentials from vulnerable users who use free wifi networks in airports, cafes, lounges etc. for conducting transactions. If you must use one of these free, unprotected networks, please make sure https is enabled for the sites you are visiting and entering personal data into.
- See more at: http://www.themancompany.com/blog/cat/technology-and-more/post/ways-to-guard-your-private-data/#sthash.8DsRYVAD.dpuf