The Better Business Bureau – or the BBB – has been protecting the general consumer marketplace since 1912. It's safe to say they've evolved a lot since then. Not only have they embraced the recent rise of online shopping and e-commerce, but they've recently published a comprehensive list of tips to help keep your personal data safe while conducting routine business online.
Create a Strong Password
It's easy to see why one would choose a simple password – or reuse the same password for multiple sites. While it is convenient, it's one of the worst things you can do. Instead, make sure to use a strong password – a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters works best. For even better results, use a few numbers or special characters, too.
Always make sure to choose a unique password for every site you use. It can be difficult to remember which password goes with which site, but it can save you a lot of hassle – and help protect your personal data – in the long run.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication isn't an option on every site, but users should always take advantage of the feature when it's offered. Often referred to as 2FA, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security – typically in the form of an email sent to your personal address or an SMS message to your smartphone – to help safeguard your accounts. If a hacker does figure out your password for one particular site, they'll still need access to your email or smartphone before they can login.
Perform System Upkeep and Preventive Maintenance
It doesn't matter if you're using a desktop, a laptop or a smartphone – your system probably contains some sort of unnecessary or unwanted data. Some of these unwanted apps might even be malicious software – malware – in disguise.
To avoid running into issues like this, perform regular system upkeep on a routine basis. Most operating systems have built-in features – such as Microsoft Windows' Disk Cleanup and Disk Defrag utilities – that help you eliminate unwanted apps, organize important data and strengthen the longevity of your entire system.
Backup Your Data on a Regular Basis
The BBB also recommends performing regular data backups of any sensitive information. Some data doesn't have to be backed up – such as games and apps that can be re-downloaded or easily reinstalled from a disc. Other forms of data, like personal files, digital images and your MP3 collection, should be backed up to an external hard drive or disc on a regular basis.
While this won't prevent an occurrence from happening in the first place, it ensures that you still have access to your data in case of an incident.
Protecting Your Online Data
Online data security ultimately begins with the consumer. Although modern businesses do share in the responsibility of safeguarding sensitive and confidential consumer data, their systems are prime targets for today's hackers and identity thieves. With that in mind, there is a lot you can do to help protect your data from the myriad of online threats.
The Better Business Bureau Offers Tips to Safeguard Your Online Data
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