Seven Tips for Personal Cyber Security
Rajesh Mahadwar, CEO of Softkey,Inc., is a great friend of mine, and we bonded over a shared interest in cyber security. He knows my opinion, that if you don’t get this right, you’re letting yourself in for a world of misery and frustration. He recently sent me this e-mail, which I’m reprinting with his permission.
What Is Personal Cyber Security?
Personal Cyber Security concerns all transactions that you do electronically. Transactions can be of multiple forms such as buy, sell, apply (for credit cards, loans, etc.). You might use different devices for these transactions such as computers, smart phones, tablets kiosks, and so on.
Anytime you give, say or type your personal information, security becomes important because you’re at risk for your information’s being intercepted. Unauthorized people can then use the information to harm to you.
PII (Personal Identifiable Information) is confidential information about you. Examples include: Name, Social Security number (SSN), Date of birth (DOB), Mother’s Maiden Name, Email Address, Driver’s License Number, Passport Number, Account Numbers (Phone Numbers, Bank Account Numbers, Membership Numbers), or Home Address.
If an unauthorized person gets a hold of any of these PII Items, it’s easy for him or her to: steal your money from financial institutions; steal your identity; lower your Credit Rating; and cause emotional stress.
How Do I Safeguard My Personal Information?
First, do not share your personal information with anyone who does not really need that information. Secondly, when you do so, share information in a safe way.
- Do not leave your passwords or account numbers written on post-it notes on your office desk.
- When you are in public place (restaurants, malls, public transportation), don’t talk about your personal information if it can be overheard by someone who can can misuse it.
- If you own a laptop computer, do not use “Free Wi-Fi” at public places for any activity where you have to login with a “username” and “password”.
- With a Smart Phone, do not use it for Banking or other applications where you have automatic login. If you lose the phone, and some of your personal information is known to the finder, they can figure out your password and get hold of all your personal information. And yes – always have a password for your smart phone – do not leave it unsecured.
- If you are sharing a computer or using a computer in a shared area (café or hotel lobby), do not login to membership or financial websites. Your username and password may remain on that computer long after you have left the location.
- Be extremely selective about what you share on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) People have posted on Facebook that they were going on vacation and then that information resulted in a burglary in their house while they were away.
- Do not use the following for your passwords: Birthdays, Birth years, Children’s names, Pet names, favorite football/baseketball/baseball team name, and so on.
Safety and Convenience are inversely proportional to each other. If things are very convenient, then most likely they are not safe. Conversely, if things are very safe, then most likely they are not very convenient.
Remember, your personal information is very valuable, keep it safe.
You can reach Mahadwar at: RMahadwar@KeySoftServices.com