This is the first tip in a 5-part series offering Cybersecurity Tips.
Now more than ever, it’s time to treat your personal electronic assets and information as a business would. Cybercrime is a big business and it affects every individual, business, and state and federal government in the U.S. and internationally. People, businesses and governments are losing critical information at an alarming rate affecting people’s lives all the way up to national and international critical infrastructures.
So, what this means is you need to understand your digital track, you need to prioritize your most sensitive assets, implement higher levels of protection for those assets, get more disciplined with regard to backing up your sensitive information, and finally, have a personal disaster recovery plan ready, in writing, in the event you experience a cyber-breach of your personal information.
Here is the first “Cybersecurity” tip to help you get started:
Tip #1 – Document and Inventory your “Digital Track in the Wild”
The first and most important thing to understand about your digital profile is that it’s large and cannot be erased. Your profile is made up of every website you have a login for, including your online banking accounts, your major credit card company websites like VISA™, M/C™, Discover™ or American Express™, major merchant credit card company websites like Macy’s™, Gap™, and Sears™ to name just a few, your social networking sites, including Facebook™, Twitter™, LinkedIn™, and YouTube™ etc…, and your online email accounts like Comcast™, Charter™, Google Gmail™ and AOL™. All of these online resources have the potential of containing very sensitive information about your entire life.
While there are emerging features in the social media world related to scheduling your posts to be deleted in advance, there’s still no global magic wand or “delete” button that you can wave or press to erase your digital tracks. And, even if you wanted to attempt to delete your digital tracks, it would need to be done one website at a time and would be incredibly difficult, time consuming, and likely only marginally successful. In other words, what you have out there is out there for good! So, you need to protect it the best way you can, using the tips being provided in this series.
With your information scattered everywhere, it’s important to think about what valuable information you have and where. For example, how many web sites are storing your credit card information? How many have an up-to-date card number and expiration date? Where do you have important documents, files, emails and videos across the web? • You can start this process by making a list in a spreadsheet or word processing document noting the types of sensitive data associated with each site. • List every social networking site you have a profile on. • List every email system you use. • List every credit card company, merchant and Bank or Credit Union you are associated with and have logins for and list support contact phone numbers for each. • Password protect the spreadsheet or word processing document so only you can access it. • If there are particular sites you no longer use, delete your account profiles there.
Be on the lookout for Tip #2, which will be posted in two to three weeks!