On Freedom of Information Day, the American Library Association recognizes individuals and groups who support the public’s right to know and gain access to government information. It’s also the birthday of James Madison, who was an advocate for transparency in government and is considered the father of the U.S. Constitution.
Thinking of how the government protects information made me think about how I would secure my own data. InfoSec (Information Security) is a very hot topic as numerous high-profile data breaches have occurred within the last year. So, where do you start to protect your data?
- Keep your devices’ firmware, software, operating systems and applications up to date; this includes your phone, TV, Blu-Ray player, laptop, tablet, etc. – anything that connects to the Internet
- Install and run updated anti-virus and anti-malware software on your PC
- Use strong passwords that contain uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers
- Change the default passwords on all new devices
- Don’t open email attachments from unknown or unexpected sources
- Proceed with caution when using public Wi-Fi without VPN or a secure connection; your data is at risk
- Do not use exploited software or hardware – anything that has been hacked, cracked, pirated or jail broken
- Always enable your device’s firewall
- Be thoughtful of the type and amount of information you are willing to share on social sites
- Learn how to back up your devices so you don’t lose important information
- Control physical access to your devices so they are not lost or stolen
- Understand Social Engineering – be very suspicious if people you do not know contact you and request your username, password or credit card