The holidays are rife with stress this season (this year more than ever). It’s also a time where you need to remember to stay safe–and what better way to stay safe than to plan ahead?
This year, we bring your gift early: four strategies for keeping your data secure during the holidays!
1. Change your passwords
Yes, updating your password is one of the most basic concepts, but the rules change sometimes due to evolving technology. Make sure your passwords contain:
- At least 16 characters
- Include a Number
- Have both capital and lowercase letters
- Special symbols (%$#@!)
- Don’t include any personal information (like things around your desk, mother’s maiden name, street name, etc.)
It is difficult for some to not reuse passwords, but necessary in order to keep your data from being breached! Never use the same password that you would use at your bank that you would also use for a personal account. Most password managers make this problem much easier–specifically, an application like LastPass or 1Password to lock all of your passwords behind one “master password.”
If you are ever concerned if your password is strong enough, you can check your password strength here. Alternatively, if you want to know if your sensitive information or passwords have been leaked, you can check on Have I Been Pwned to see if you have been exposed.
Of course, what happens if your master password has been breached? Or perhaps just the one account? The next gift you should give yourself this holiday should be…
Whether you end up using a password manager (like LastPass) or not, securing your password with an authentication device is a must. I personally use Authy, and others use DUO; it’s a way in which you can authenticate that you are the sole user logging into whatever data source–in our previous example, say, a password manager–and no one else. You might ask yourself, if I lose such a device, how would I be able to retrieve my data or passwords? That brings us to…
Typically, anyone who works with data knows that backups are important, but sometimes we need to follow strict rules to make sure everything is in place in case of an emergency:
- Typically, three copies of your data is best: one in a secure cloud storage location, one on an external hard drive somewhere, and of course, one on the local machine.
- Keep a schedule of these backups, test that they are working, and keep them fairly up to date.
- Encrypt these backups.
4. Protect yourself from phishing scams
If you receive an email from an odd or incorrect domain name, or if you see links in an email that are unusual, have a lot of words, or go on too long, be suspicious! Phishing sites try very hard to make the user feel as if they are receiving a legitimate email or link! You can find many blogs from Hurricane Labs on how to ward off these types of scams!
Hopefully, this list gives you a good starting point of four security strategies to help defend your personal data over the holidays–as well as all year round. Happy holidays from Hurricane Labs!