With technology becoming increasingly more and more prevalent in our global society, it’s hard to be 100% safe. Information kept online and in the cloud, like credit card numbers and even personal pictures, can be and have been stolen by hackers. Everyone has a digital fingerprint somewhere. Businesses, banks, and corporations are taking steps to crack down on the recent string of security breaches. These steps include enforcing stronger passwords, new security measures, and embedding microchips in debit and credit cards. But according to experts, it’s only a temporary fix. As quickly as new technology is invented and implemented, there will always be a criminal trying to get around it. Each person must take a proactive approach to protect themselves. According to Mandi Witkovsky, Manager of Security and Identity at IPFW,
You would have to go completely off the grid to be 100-percent safe. And in today’s culture, it’s probably not realistic to assume that people could ever hope to achieve that…Paranoia won’t get you anywhere. And unless you’re willing to live off the grid, there’s really no way to avoid technology these days. But being educated, being aware, paying attending to good security practices – that’s the best thing that people can do.
Some tips to help keep your information safe include:
- Make your passwords stronger by using a phrase or whole sentence. The longer the password, the more difficult it is to discover.
- Change your password regularly.
- Don’t re-use passwords between accounts.
- NEVER share your password with anyone – no legitimate business will ever ask for your username/password by phone or email.
- Turn on 2-factor authentication where available – that way you’ll get a text or email if your account is accessed by an unfamiliar computer.
- Use cash where you can.
- Be sure to notify your credit card company and the local police immediately if you believe you’re the victim of a security breach.
These tips will add an extra step or two, which may be annoying. But according to Randy Troy, Director of Environment, Health, Safety, and Risk Management at St. Francis University in Fort Wayne,
Any extra layer of protection or security that you have is going to be beneficial to you. It may seem like an inconvenience, but that inconvenience that you perceive is really there to protect you, your info, your identity from being stolen.
In some cases, especially with pictures or comments, there may be no way to get that content removed from the web. So remember, once it’s out there, it’s out there!