Ten tips to securing your data on and offline in 2021 – part 2

Securing confidential details such as your passwords, personally identifiable information, and business-critical information from external threats is not an option but a necessity for both businesses and individuals.

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has placed many businesses in harm’s way since they forced to adopt work from home offices which have given attackers an advantage to increase attacks on their employees (https://www.ruralict.com/2020/11/Data.html).

Here are the final 5 straightforward tips to protect your private information from falling into the wrong hands and used against you.

6. Protect Your home or Corporate Wireless Network

This advice applies to both families and small business owners. Use a passphrase password to secure your wireless (Wi-Fi) connection using the WPA encryption. That will prevent unauthorized individuals from hijacking your wireless connection. Secure your corporate wireless network by preventing it from broadcasting the network name or the Service Set Identifier (SSID).

7. Disable idle/used services on your device

Remember to power off your computer when idle, and you are not working on it. Leaving it active and connected to the internet can make it vulnerable to rogue or botnet attacks. It also gives cybercriminals the opportunity of exploiting and installing malware to perpetrate their crimes. Services such as Bluetooth, location, torch, mobile hotspot and, data should only be activated when needed and disabled when no longer in use. Besides draining the device battery, the risk of a negative attack is also lowered.

8. Have a backup plan

Having a duplicate of your data is important for the business to continue operating if it experiences a catastrophic attack, such as ransomware. Studies indicate that 60 percent of small businesses go out of business within six months of experiencing a ransomware attack (https://www.ruralict.com/2020/11/Data.html). And even if an attack does not take you out of business, the impact of an attack has negative consequences to your business operations leading to lost revenue, a tarnished brand, regulatory fines, and loss of customer trust.

9. Dispose of Your Old Devices Properly

Having backed up your private data and migrated the data to other hardware, ensure you meticulously clean up your old disk before disposing it off. You can shred the disk, clean it magnetically, or utilize software to wipe it clean to the level that your confidential and sensitive data is unrecoverable to whoever comes in possession of the old device.

10. Avoid saving your passwords or secrets on your device

Avoid saving your passwords, pin numbers, bank details on sticky notes, or giving them to random strangers to help you with reading your inbox messages and withdrawing your money at ATM. Sadly this happened to someone I know and the next time she went back to check her bank balance, it was almost zero – a situation that nearly gave her a heart attack. Your secrets are your crown jewels and if you are not willing to guard them with care, you will be an easy target for any lazy attacker.

Please leave us a comment about the story or suggest a topic we can write about in our next issue.

Thank you.

Contribution by

John Kibuuka,

IT Consultant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark

Note: This article comes in two parts, so remember to read part 1 for full coverage.

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