Cybersecurity Spring-Cleaning: How To Tidy Up Your Digital Footprint To Help Avoid Data Breaches
North American Precis Syndicate
It's a good idea to give your digital devices an annual "cleaning" to get rid of old data. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—Similar to how dust collects in the nooks and crannies of homes
during the winter, many people have accumulated years of data from old
devices, e-mail accounts and online profiles. All this available information
creates a digital footprint that could leave them exposed to unnecessary cybersecurity risks.
As many people look to refresh their living spaces each spring with a deep
cleaning, cybersecurity experts also recommend that
people take the time to clean their digital presence.
"In today's world of connected devices, we often overlook the volume of
data available online. All this information creates a digital footprint that cybercriminals can use to hack devices and accounts,"
said Dennis Bonilla, executive dean, University of Phoenix® College of Information
Systems and Technology, School
of Business and College of Security
and Criminal Justice. "It is a good practice to periodically purge old data
to help reduce that footprint and decrease the likelihood of cyberattacks."
According to a University of Phoenix survey,* nearly half (43 percent) of U.S.
adults have experienced a personal data breach in the past three years. As a
result, 85 percent have adjusted their online habits, such as deleting
suspicious e-mails (61 percent), avoiding clickbait (49 percent) and limiting personal information
shared online (43 percent).
To help decrease data breaches, Bonilla suggests the following three steps
to tidy up your digital footprint.
1. Create a secondary e-mail
Many websites may require an e-mail address to register or access
information. These sites can be hacked and allow cybercriminals
access to login credentials that are shared with other websites. Bonilla uses
a primary work e-mail but creates secondary e-mail accounts for mailing lists
and profile-protected websites to help avoid spam or phishing
He warns not to use secondary e-mail accounts to sign up for things like
social media sites or applications with companies or people who may share
your information with third-party sites.
2. Remove unused social networks
and mobile apps
Social media sites possess a wealth of personal information that can be stolen
without proper security measures in place. Unused or old accounts should be
deactivated and personal information should be removed.
Additionally, Bonilla encourages mobile users to delete apps they do not
frequent from their smartphones, as these often
collect and share data. Make sure to check the security settings before
installing apps. If they require access to contacts, locations or other data,
decide if the app is worth sharing that information.
3. Manage financial accounts
Similar to social media accounts, Americans should remove financial
information from online vendor accounts. If you do not frequent an online
retailer, Bonilla says to check out as a guest to reduce the number of
websites that store your financial information.
While many companies have fraud and security settings in place, data can
be at risk if a company experiences a breach. Using more-secure payment
options like PayPal can also help keep your data
These steps can help limit data breaches, but Bonilla said that Americans
must be aware that any data shared online could be stolen.
"We can never truly remove content about us that is available online, nor
can we fully prevent criminals from attempting to breach our data," Bonilla
said. "Consider limiting the amount of personal info you share online. The
less information available, the safer you can be."
poll was conducted from May 25−30, 2017, among a national sample of
1991 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data
were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on
age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results from
the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
""Consider limiting the amount of personal
info you share online. The less information available, the safer you can be,"
said Dennis Bonilla of the University
of Phoenix College of
Information Systems and Technology. http://bit.ly/2FJCL6R"
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)