If you’re big on privacy, then keeping your data secure is likely a big concern of yours. With everything going digital, how can you keep records and personal files safe from hackers? Follow these five tips to get started.
Start with Reputable Services
Choosing between companies that offer services like cloud storage, cell phone, and email services can be a tough call. In most cases, you can eliminate a lot of options right off the bat. When services like these are necessary to your day-to-day life, choose a reputable company with years of experience. This is usually a good indicator that they have strong security measures in place. For example, if you’re looking for a quality phone service, check out the Simple Choice Plan from T-Mobile, where you’ll get all the unlimited services you need on a trusted network.
Use Encrypted Services
One bad thing about some trusted services is that the most popular ones are often targets for large hacks. That’s not to say that every popular digital service you use will be hacked. Some companies have an encryption system in place in which they encrypt data while on your computer, not just while it’s being transferred. These are usually the better choice when it comes to data security.
Edward Snowden says that SpiderOak does this, which means that it’s probably a better alternative to Dropbox if you use cloud storage services. Snowden also suggests staying away from Facebook and Google if you’re concerned about privacy, and services like RedPhone and Silent Circle are good options for encrypting your text messages.
Rethink Your Passwords
Yes, you’ve heard this tip a thousand times. Change your passwords often, use a different one for each account, and don’t write it down! Doesn’t that tip seem a little unrealistic, though? CIO.com gives a solution to this and shows how you can memorize a new password for each service without writing them down. Here’s the trick:
- Choose a single word or phrase that you will use as the base of your password. Example: trumpet
- For added security, choose a series of numbers. If you need help remembering, perhaps use a number that means something to you, but don’t choose something that’s too easy for someone to guess. Example: 362
- The third part of your password should be the account you’re using. Example: Gmail
Using this system, your Gmail password would be trumpet362gmail. A Skype password would be trumpet362skype. And the pattern continues. The best passwords would use misspelled words (but make sure you can remember the spelling!) and numbers that can’t be associated with significant dates in your life, such as your birthday or anniversary.
Keep Your Software Updated
Some people may not think much about updates to their operating system or trusted apps. If you’re serious about your privacy, downloading the most recent update will help put up a barrier between your data and hackers. That’s because programmers have fixed issues in the older versions, making it harder for hackers to find new holes in the program and get around security problems.
Dispose of Your Device Properly
If you’re constantly updating your software, soon enough your device will be so outdated that it can’t support the latest software updates. When this happens, it’s probably about time to get a new device. But simply tossing your old phone out doesn’t mean that no one can get their hands on the data stored on it. The Federal Trade Commission gives tips on how to properly dispose of your mobile device.
- Use the “factory reset” function to wipe all your data. Check your owner’s manual on how exactly to do this.
- Remove your SIM card and SD card. You may be able to transfer your SIM card to your new phone and keep your phone number. Be sure you don’t throw away either card with your phone as they both contain information as well.
- Double check that your information has been wiped clean. Check your contacts, photos, voicemail, and downloaded apps to be sure there isn’t sensitive information left on your device.
Now that you have these ideas, which methods will you use to keep your data secure?