SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you have spent almost a year working from home at your computer all day, it may have slipped your attention that Thursday marked National Data Privacy Day.
An unprecedented number of people are facing cyber attacks that could steal their identifies and their money. And apparently, many don’t know enough about how to protect themselves.
“I would say maybe 25 percent of the individuals that I have spoken to know what to do,” said Ernesto Negron, an IT consultant and Technology Expert with Hilltop Consultants in Atlanta. |
It seems clear more of us could use not only a technology refresher course but more education in general about our systems, computers and cell phones.
“We are all so interconnected with all the different devices that we have that privacy is always going to be a concern,” Negron said.
He says start with your computer and anti-virus software. Most people think they’re protected but Negron says not necessarily.
“They’re not making sure that the anti-virus software is being updated on a daily basis,” he said.
Negron says set automatic updates and make sure the firewall on your computer is functioning.
He also says while so many homes are “connected” that not everyone is doing the right thing with their Wifi, i.e. not everyone has set up their own secure password.
“So a lot of times you buy a Wifi router, plug it in and set it up but you don’t change the default passwords and that’s where the vulnerability comes in where hackers could come in and start taking over your devices,” said Negron.
He also says people may overlook their cell phone but that your information could be compromised there as well. He says be careful about the apps you install.
“There are applications that are monitoring what you’re doing that could be sharing (your data.) When you install a new application or a new app on your device take a look at the privacy settings. I would disable those features out of those applications,” said Negron.
He says help is available from experts and online. Negron also suggests that more people have learned more things in the last year while working from home.
“It was a learning curve that was forced upon us so now people are more mindful of security issues and security concerns, especially with all the security breaches that have been occurring. “
We also had a conversation about passwords after I showed him a piece of paper with all my passwords on it. “That is a terrible idea,” Negron said.
He suggests a web based program that can securely store passwords. Negron also reminds consumers (and we should know this) NOT to use the same password for multiple sites, using a password at least 12 characters long and says use “complex passwords with Uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers and symbols.”
He also says sign up for two step authentication with banking sites and other services. That provides an extra security step in which a code is sent to your cell phone after you sign in. You plug in that code to prove your identity before you can get on the site.