IT Security Week: Protecting your Personal Information

We all have information worth protecting; financial data, medical information, usernames, passwords, passcodes and PINs to name but a few. Protecting this information was much easier when it was mainly stored in physical files and folders and could be locked securely away, but now that it is online how safe and secure is your personal information?

Are you at risk of loss of privacy, identity theft or fraud?

Have a read through our top 10 tips below to ensure that you are doing all you can to protect your personal information.

Top 10 tips to safeguard your personal information online

  1. Remembering passwords can be a nuisance but passwords are often the sole keys to accessing your information and are fundamental to your security. They need to be long, complex, unique and not easy to guess, so at least 8 characters (preferably much more if you can manage it), and with no dictionary words, names, favourite colours or dates of birth!
  2. Don’t use the same password for everything; this increases the likelihood of multiple accounts getting hacked at once potentially turning a small problem into a major disaster!
  3. Protect your privacy on social media; think carefully about what information you allow to be accessed online and by whom. Make sure you understand how the privacy settings in applications like Facebook actually work.
  4. As a test log out and try to access your social media accounts as a stranger would every so often to check what data can be accessed.
  5. Be cautious about online status updates that reveal your location or future travel plans; you may put yourself or your property in danger by publicly declaring this type of information.
  6. Have a plan for how you will deal with the loss or theft of a personal computing device, have you encrypted the hard drive, can you remote wipe the device, do you have backups?
  7. Have you heard of phishing? Be on your guard while browsing your inbox and never ever supply personal or financial information in response to an email request. Even if you are convinced that an email is legitimate always verify by telephoning the bank or company using their publically listed telephone number to double-check first.
  8. Be careful when storing personal or sensitive information in online storage services, especially free ones! Have you read the terms and conditions of the service, are you sure you know who can access the data?
  9. Finally make sure to delete all your information stored on a computer, phone or tablet prior to discarding, exchanging or donating it to charity. 

Join us tomorrow to find out WHAT DOES THE INTERNET SAY ABOUT YOU?  

To mark Data Protection day on Wednesday 28th January there will be an exciting panel discussion at 6pm in the Synge Theatre – WHAT DOES THE INTERNET SAY ABOUT YOU?  It will be hosted by Newstalk’s Technology Reviewer Jessica Kelly.  See http://www.tcd.ie/info_compliance/news/ for more information

Consider how much data you are storing on your smartphones and tablets, you need to protect and secure these just as you would your computer. At a minimum set a password or PIN on your devices and set them to automatically lock after a set period of time.

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