Staying secure isn’t just about looking the part; you have to be the part. Most of us know, or at least ought to know, about the importance of IT security, but whether or not we practice that is another matter altogether.
Digital crimes happen all around us. Many people don’t think much about them because they aren’t something you can see. However, the threats are real. If your security has been mostly a show, then make it legit this year. It’s never too late to reassess or step up your security posture.
I’ve written in the past about using a password manager to help you deal with all the passwords you need to remember. It’s an essential tool that everyone needs. To be clear, it’s not password managers per se that matter, but that you need good password practices that keep you safe. This means:
- Using good, random, passwords
- Never reuse passwords on more than one online service
If you do the above, you’re not going to remember your passwords. So that’s why password managers come into play. There are many password managers available, and unfortunately, how to choose between them is beyond the scope of this post. I will mention, though, that I use Enpass.
Good password practice, however, is only just the beginning. The threats we face these days come in so many form that we always need to be conscious about continuing all the best security practices. There may be many things to do, but they aren’t all that hard.
For example, always make sure that your operating systems, applications, and various other software are always kept up-to-date as promptly as possible. Don’t delay applying security patches.
The importance of physical security is often underestimated. Since it is virtual, people sometimes don’t appreciate the significance of how information can be stolen. As a result, sometimes people don’t even realise they’ve lost something.
Your digital devices, such as notebooks and smartphones, need to be safeguarded so that critical information stored in them don’t fall into wrong hands. You might not be able to prevent physical theft or accidental loss altogether, so it is important to have some mitigation to protect your data. Your device needs storage encryption, such as full disk encryption provided by BitLocker in Windows 10 or FileVault 2 in macOS.
There are threats at other levels too. Fun apps or surveys that ask you for some information? You might not think much but the information you give away could be more valuable than you believe. This is because individual bits of data which may not seem very significant on their own could be merged with other databases to derive much more valuable information.
Identity theft is fast become a major problem. It has become easier than ever for the bad actors because of the ease with which many people are nowadays giving away information about themselves.
Remember that there is no free lunch. There must be some purpose for everything. What may be free in terms of price could have been paid in some other way that may not be immediately obvious to you. As some may well be aware, you could sometimes be the product. I’m not saying that everything free in price is bad or must be avoided, but that you should think deeper about how you might be paying for them.