The data found on a personal hard drive or in a business’ information technology network likely contains an enormous amount of sensitive information. Data about personal or business finances, tax documents, and SSN or EIN numbers are stored in presumably secure folders. Photos and video images not intended for public consumption may be safely locked away behind a password protected computer. Since nothing goes wrong for many years, people cease to worry about security breaches. Failure to maintain concerns the theft of private data can be a horrible mistake. When the nightly news explodes with a report about how hackers broke into a major corporation or government entity’s computer system, people should quickly realize how a lack of concerns over hacking leads to disaster.
Hacking Fears Abound
Fear then runs through the minds of people worried about their own personal or professional data. A blaring new report may shock people out of their lulls by reminding them hackers are out there. And hackers do want to break into computers, steal information and data, and then use the stolen materials for illicit purposes.
Protecting sensitive computer data from hackers must become a top priority for everyone who stores information on a computer or network. Not every protective measure is a complicated one, though. Engaging in some basic security steps could make the life of a hacker complicated.
Use Reliable and Complex Passwords
Anyone who still uses flippant and easy to guess passwords makes life exceedingly easy for hackers. Hackers really don’t need to work all that hard to compromise weak passwords. Software programs exist that run common lame passwords in an automated fashion. Those using “baseball” or “password” for passwords, essentially, hack themselves.
Come up with a difficult password. If you cannot do so, invest in a program that develops hard-to-guess passwords for you. And be sure to change the password at regular intervals. Doing so further makes password breaches difficult.
Always Upgrade Operating Systems on Time
Even the best operating systems suffer from security flaws. Diligent hackers search for these flaws. Once the flaws are discovered, hackers take advantage of the situation. When reminders for an OS update arrive, do not dismiss them. Install the updates as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the security breaches remain in place and they can be taken advantage of.
Operating systems aren’t alone in terms of the necessity for updates. Updating anti-virus definitions must be done timely as well. Even a great antivirus, like an operating system, needs updates to curtail hacks and breaches. Allowing definitions to expire means the anti-virus won’t be able to protect against certain malicious programs. Disasters may soon follow.
Avoid Public Computers
Logging into a private account from a public computer may seem like an innocuous act untold numbers of people do. No matter how many people make this mistake, it is still a big mistake. Users cannot control who accesses a public computer. Keystroke logging programs may be installed on a public computer. The person who installed the program then gains access to all manner of private accounts and corresponding passwords.
Keep Current with News about Hacking
Staying on top of news related to hacking and computer security breaches helps with staying informed about breaches and other security risks that arise. A customer who discovers his/her favorite retail giant suffered a major hack may wish to take reactionary steps. Any data found on that company’s servers may now be in the hands of hackers. This data includes private information about customers. Maybe canceling a credit card or making several password changes should become immediate priorities.
Customers should never ignore any hacking incidents related to companies they do business with. Always take measures to ensure personal information hasn’t been compromised. To automatically assume nothing is wrong without checking might be a bad idea. Never make assumptions about security.
Invest in a Monitoring Service
Security breaches and identity theft occur. Subscribing to an identity theft and personal information monitoring service helps with the aftermath. While it is best to prevent hacking, this may not always be possible. With the right monitoring service in place, taking appropriate actions in response to the incident may be possible.