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3 tips for a comprehensive personal online security audit this year

You need to follow these 3 advanced tips at all times if you want to avoid your data from being exposed.

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Despite the knowledge of how to keep stronger passwords, the importance of regularly updating software and identifying scam emails getting higher among the general population, security breaches are still occurring more highly than ever. 

Believe it or not, in just the first six months of 2019, a whopping 4.1 billion records have been compromised through less than 4000 acknowledged data breaches. 

So why does this keep happening despite our seemingly best efforts? The answer lies in the fact that there are still some very alarming security loopholes that we just think about or fail to take into account. 

Keeping passwords that are hard to guess or knowing that a prince in Africa or South America will not really share his fortune once we share our account details with him is a good start to healthy cybersecurity hygiene. You are making the job of a modern-day hacker a bit difficult but you are not completely shutting it off. 

The securities breakdowns are bound to happen in instances where you accidentally latch on to a compromised Wi-Fi, fail to update the security patch for your software in time or firms who manage your social profiles suffer from a breach. 

The phenomenal amount of security breaches reported this year is a testament to the fact that security breakdowns are bound to occur whether it’s your fault or not, but in the end, it is you who can suffer an incredible amount of damage to your sensitive personal and financial data. 

To ensure that either doesn’t suffer in the case of such security breaches or limit the damage, you need to follow these 3 advanced tips at all times: 

Review all Your Social Media Avatars Exhaustively:  

Things like phishing emails that are so believable that a lot of people fall into their trap occur less because of the fact that the hackers are smart. They occur more because we are dumb enough to let sensitive personal information slip on our social media profiles that can be used against us. 

Things like tagging a location in a check-in, putting up the name of the restaurant which we frequently visit, tagging some of our friends regularly among others, are exactly the kind of material scammers who phishing emails are after. 

Not only this, a lot of times, we make an account somewhere and forget about it, leaving some very sensitive personal information in the site’s database and on our profiles on such platforms. 

A data breach suffered by that firm means our info also got breached which is not good at all as this info can be used to open up your accounts on other platforms quite easily. 

To stop any such event from occurring, you need to take a comprehensive review of what’s out there on social media under your name and where. If your account is on a site that has suffered a breach or is not secure enough, delete your credentials from there. 

Secondly, don’t share any personally identifiable information on social media platforms that can be used against you. Keep a tab on what you can share and what you can’t. 

Privacy settings should be personalized but why take the risk in the first place by not doing anything beyond restricting our information from being shared among those we don’t trust? 

Don’t do that. Keep things constrained at all times, especially information owing to your personal selves. 

Analyze all of Your Financial Statements:  

Hackers sometimes pull of things that we don’t notice until it’s too late and if there is one place that we know that they will target for sure are our online financial accounts. 

Someone might have breached our credit card information and might be taking out money in small, barely noticeable amounts and we might not even notice. This is dangerous so it’s imperative that you always check financial reports exhaustively on a weekly basis. 

Keeping shorter review times will allow you to remember much of your transactions and know when a suspicious transaction finds itself in the middle of your records. 

You can immediately check on the details of that transaction and see whether your hunch was right or not. If it was, you can change all your details right then and there and prevent further damage from occurring. 

Keep Your Important Files Encrypted Always: 

If there is one thing hackers still can’t get through, its encryption. That’s because, to break through top-notch encryption levels like AES-256 or even AES-128, you need to run a brute force attack through thousands of supercomputers for hundreds of years before you can even come close.

And that’s the reason why VPNs use this technology to secure data when in transit through their connections. However, not a lot of people encrypt their files because encryption solutions for the consumer are not as readily available as those for businesses. 

However, some firms like PCloud can be used to do this for files on your own devices. The service offered by this firm ensures that your data is useless to anyone who manages to break in without permission making things like ransomware attacks useless for hackers. 

Ransomware attacks occur very frequently and sometimes they are unleashed on a very large scale, resulting in millions of dollars in damage like infamous Wannacry ransomware that wreaked havoc on public health systems, businesses, airlines etc. before someone found a kill switch to stem it. 

Wannacry has not been eliminated, it’s lying dormant and the threat of its re-activation looms large. 

And even if you don’t pay to the attackers, they still have your info which can be even more damaging than paying them to free it. But if your files are encrypted, it will be of no use to them, limiting the amount of damage to only data “lost” but not pilfered. 

Employ encryption today to get yourself ahead of hackers

Cybersecurity is a vast field with plenty of tools available to protect your privacy and data like VPNs and Anti-viruses but there is nothing more potent than self-vigilantism in this case. If you neutralize the attacks even if they occur, you take the sting out of them and that’s exactly what these advanced tips will allow you to accomplish. 

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