If you ever wonder how safe your information is online, then this week’s Bulgarian cyber-security breach will not do much to ease your mind. The compromise has affected millions from the adult population, with personal information being stolen by hackers after they launched a huge attack on government firewalls.
Cyber-security hits news headlines more and more often, with frequent data breaches being reported, from small scale to the international. But what does this really mean?
It can be difficult to navigate reports on cyber-security, especially for those of us who are not well versed in ‘techspeak’. Technical jargon often blurs the message that we should all be receiving – data needs protecting. Personal data is described by Which? as “information that relates to an identified or identifiable person who could be identified, directly or indirectly based on the information.”
Simply put, this data might include your name, email address, location or identification numbers (such as your national insurance or passport number). Further to this, sensitive personal data might include your ethnicity, political and religious beliefs, or even “genetic characteristics which give unique information about a person’s physiology or the health of that natural person.” Scary, right?
Despite a lot of our personal data lying in the hands of corporations and governments, there are steps we can all take to help keep our private data just that – private. Here are a few:
1) Turn Bluetooth off when you aren’t using it
Although Bluetooth can be really handy, unfortunately it leaves your device vulnerable to interception, meaning that not only can your data be stolen, but you can receive damaging files and viruses too.
2) Do regular updates
Though this may seem like an unnecessary waste of time, updates provide you with the latest security developments for any given piece of software. One of the easiest ways to stay protected is to bite the bullet and click ‘install’!
3) Use a range of passwords – and change them
Nobody likes coming up with new, complicated and hard-to-remember passwords, but this top tip is not a new one, it’s time to take note.
4) Back up your data
This acts as a safety net in the event of a security breach.
5) Install anti-malware software from a known and trusted source
This detects dangerous software on your device and lets you know when there’s a threat to your cyber-security.
Cyber-security is for everyone, not just the tech geeks!