You keep all your software updated, you run a virus and malware scanner and you stay away from shady sites on the internet. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to make certain that your information and your identity is secure. Keep your sensitive information safe with the following best security practices.
Use A Password Manager
Do you use the same password on every website that you create an account for? It’s fairly common these days to hear in the news that a website has been breached and a number of accounts have been compromised. If your account is compromised and your e-mail address and password are stolen and you use the same password on every account you have on the internet, attackers now have access to your entire online presence. You can’t prevent servers from being breached by attackers and your account data being stolen, but you can definitely reduce the impact of it were it to happen by never using a password more than once.
Of course, remembering all these passwords would be impossible. Thankfully, password managers such as LastPass and KeePass exist to make it so that you can have a different password for every account you have, and they even have features to randomly generate passwords for you so you don’t have to think of new ones all the time. This allows you to contain the damage from having your account stolen on only one website and helps to keep your identity safe. It is important to protect your online accounts.
Encrypt Your Hard Drive
Most people are so afraid of having their identity stolen over the internet that they forget the old tactics of simply stealing a laptop with personally identifying information on it. Home and car burglaries can result in steeper damages than just having to replace your laptop if the burglar is savvy enough to use the information contained on your hard drive to steal your identity.
TrueCrypt allows you to encrypt your entire hard drive; your computer will require a password when you start it in order to decrypt the contents. This keeps your information and identity safe if your computer ever gets stolen.
Erase Your Data Before You Sell Or Donate Your Computer
Whether you have decided to sell your old computer or donate it to charity, you should totally erase the contents of your hard drive before it leaves your possession. Although most charities that you can donate your computers to will erase your hard drive for you, it’s not wise to leave things up to chance. Information such as bank passwords and the password to your e-mail account can allow the recipient of your computer to steal your identity or cause other damage.
DBAN is a program that allows you to securely wipe the contents of your hard drive. It can also securely erase flash drives. DBAN has support for writing random data to the drive in multiple passes, ensuring that the sensitive data on the drive is absolutely unrecoverable even with sophisticated equipment. cc licensed flickr photo shared by CarbonNYC
Check Your Wireless Communications
With freely available tools, it’s possible for attackers to listen in on unencrypted wireless internet communication very easily. If you have a wireless router at home that you are able to configure, make sure it is using WPA2 encryption, as this is the strongest form of wireless encryption available. Don’t do anything involving sensitive information while using a wireless hotspot, as it’s easy for others connected to the same hotspot to eavesdrop on the data your computer sends and receives on the internet. Change your passwords frequently if you use public access wireless networks.
Carla Bragg is a medical transcriptionist and guest author at Health-Information-Management.org, a site with guide and information about top-rated health information management degree programs.