Strengthening your cyber security

19 May 2017

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Following the recent cyber-attack, this list of tips shows how you can protect your safety online, outside of digital media.

Identity thieves are on the lookout for human error to make their next move. These eight tips can help keep you from being a victim:

  1. Never leave sensitive items in the car, such as mail and chequebooks. Breaking into a car is one of the easiest ways for identity thieves to get your vital information.
  2. Do not provide information over the phone unless you initiate the call. Most organisations will not contact you and ask for information, and you can always hang up and call back a public number listed for the organisation.
  3. Protect or destroy sensitive documents. Shred documents with your personal identifying information that you don’t need. Get a safe for the ones you do, but never simply throw away sensitive paper documents. Criminals still dumpster-dive.
  4. Lock up your devices. Control physical access to your devices and use password protection. You have more sensitive data on your devices than you realise. Don’t leave your computer in your car or in unsecured areas.
  5. Check your credit report frequently, and monitor your bank and credit card statements. Not only will this help alert you to any possible compromise, it will also keep you on top of what accounts you have and should be protecting.
  6. Do not carry highly sensitive documents around or on your person unless specifically needed.
  7. If you have to take a birth certificate, passport or Social Security card somewhere with you, be sure to keep them safe and accounted for, and to store them securely at home when finished.
  8. Always put your outgoing mail inside the post office. Don’t even put it in the outside receptacle, and never put it in your mailbox. Outgoing mail frequently contains cheques, account numbers and other highly valuable information, and identity thieves know this. They frequently steal mail (both incoming and outgoing) in search of assets to exploit.

Make organisations accountable, and be in the habit of asking organisations what they plan to do with your personal identifiable information and protected health information.

Credit: Shutterstock

Research by the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin.


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