There is a large number of historic hacks that have come into light in recent years. It seems like every month brings with it a new headline of some epic hack. With your personal identity and the credibility of your business at stake, data security has never been more important.
How do you keep your data secure? There is no single, simple, straightforward solution to this question, but there are a number of steps that can be taken. Here are five solutions for data protection.
1. Use Strong and Unique Passwords
The password is widely considered to be the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. The vast majority of data breaches come in the form of an attacker gaining access to login credentials through a number of different means.
One of the most basic ways to safeguard against this attack vector is to use passwords that aren’t easily guessed or cracked and to use different passwords for different accounts.
Passwords should be 14 characters long, and if you can remember it, it’s not that secure. Using unique passwords is important because if an attacker gains access to one password, and you have used the same password elsewhere, now multiple accounts will be compromised.
2. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is simple to set up and provides an extra layer of protection from fraudulent login attempts. There are several different methods of 2FA. The most common and least secure is via SMS text verification code. This has been proven ineffective as attackers can intercept the code en route to your phone.
More secure methods involve authenticator apps and hardware security keys that generate unique codes locally on a device. Use these methods wherever possible.
3. Use Firewalls
Firewalls should be installed on both the network and device level. This means that your wireless router should have security methods like a firewall in place as well as every computer on that network. This makes it more difficult for attacks that use the vector of gaining access to your wireless network to compromise your data.
When configuring a firewall, be sure to block not only all incoming connections but all outgoing connections that you do not need. Malware has to communicate outside your network to be effective, so blocking outbound connections for unnecessary apps provides an extra layer of security.
4. Know How to Spot Phishing Attempts
Most hacks don’t occur because of some super-sophisticated hacking method. They happen because someone fell victim to a phishing attack or failed to install routine software updates.
Every individual who uses a computer should know how to spot a phishing attack. Most often, these come in the form of an email containing a fake website link or a file download.
The email might look like it’s coming from a trusted source. However, when you download the file, you’re infected with malware, or when you click the link, you enter your credentials into a fake website.
5. Use Secure Backup Solutions
One of the simplest and easiest data protection solutions involves routine backups of all your data. There are a number of ways to do this.
The most common ways to backup your data involve an external hard drive and cloud storage. Many people save files to cloud solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, or iCloud. This, in addition to setting up automatic backups to a backup drive, goes a long way.
In the end, implementing these solutions for data protection will serve you well. Keep these five things in mind, whether you’re an organization or individual.