We just have to come to terms that because we live in a modern world and expose ourselves online, there are best practices we need to learn and constantly revisit to stay current.
Here are my 10 “Best Practices” for the “private life” we live today.
1. Update computers and mobile devices – When was the last time you restarted or updated your devises? Restarting your devises weekly is recommending as well as checking for updates to your web browsers, apps and programs regularly.
2. Use Strong passwords- “123456” is not a very protective password. Use at least 6 characters, upper and lower case, numbers and characters. “Pass phrase” you can remember easily. Do not store your password in a word document on your computer. Use password managers for storage are secure and can be access from any device. I use LastPass, personally and for business. Here are the latest reviews for the providers currently available on the market:
3. Use 2 step Authentication process- every time you log in a special code will be generated and sent via text message to your mobile device. Recommend for all financial accounts, email, cloud storage and social media.
4. Mobile device – the same security applies as to computers and tablets. Watch out where you download apps. Use a reputable market place such as Apple Store or Google Pay. Careful with Permissions you allow on apps. They often track your location.
5. Public Wi-fi- Never Ever use it! It Is Not secure! Free, yes. Secure, No. Create a Virtual Private Network of your own (VPN). Apps such as www.Cloak.com
6. Credit Freeze- Are you concerned that your information somehow was exposed? Freezing your credit history record at every reporting agency (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion). Special PIN is required to unfreeze your record every time you want to apply for a credit and there might be a fee as well. The advantage is that no one can open accounts in your name.
7. Identity theft protection monitoring- request alerts from credit agencies about suspicious activity on your record. They usually need to be renewed every 90 days.
8. Private mailbox/P.O. Box – our home addresses are frequently sold for marketing lists.
9. Watch for encryption- make sure any site you input personal information in has URL address such as this: https:// “S” stands for –“Secure”. If you don’t see “S” in the URL, DO NOT enter any personal information.
10. Live in the cloud – Like keeping all your sensitive and important documents and photos in the cloud? Make sure you use reputable vendor and check how they handle Privacy and back issues. Also, use a strong password and install 2 step Authentication process every time you log in.
I know that this can be very overwhelming, but we have no choice if we want to have piece of mind. Recourses such as Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provide information about protecting your identity online, computer security and best practices etc. Make an effort to read articles and watch online webinars on this subject.
There is no escaping this and with the speed technological advance is happening, new business ideas are being born, all we must do as consumers and adapt and learn as fast possible on how to be smarter consumers, what resources are available to us and where to look for help.