The best way to stop cyberattacks: Stay educated on how to keep your information safe—and take the necessary steps to do so. Burton Kelso, owner and chief technology expert at Integral, a computer and laptop repair service, offers these tips.
Protect this information:
- Full and former name
- Personal ID numbers
- Debit and credit card numbers
- Full address
- Phone numbers
- Vehicle ID numbers
Watch for these scams:
- Social media account hacks
- Email account hacks
- Fake tax return filings
- Hacked bank accounts
- Fake credit card charges
- Social engineering (scams that get users to divulge personal data)
Take these steps:
- Clear your cookies. These identifiers, stored on your devices when you visit websites, aren’t bad. But other websites you visit can scan them and learn information about you. Clear cookies often, or use web browsers that offer private or incognito mode. Brave, Firefox and Opera are web browsers that don’t scan and share your data.
- Swap your search engine. Search engines like DuckDuckGo and Startpage don’t record your internet searches.
- Switch from passwords to passphrases, like “StinkyDuckSoup529!” or “830&BitterCarpetSalad.” They’re easier to remember, and they can keep accounts safer.
- Enable two-factor authentication on all accounts. With two-factor or two-step authentication, you get a verification code on your phone or email after you log in with your passphrase.
- Beware of smart tech’s capabilities. Devices like Google Home, Alexa Echo or even iRobot’s vacuums are vulnerable to attacks. And remember: Smart-home hubs are listening to you.
- Know your rights. States are enacting privacy laws to make companies share what data they have on you. Check to see how your state handles data protection.