Today is Data Privacy Day, this happens on 28th January each year and is a great reminder to evaluate our own cyber security.
We live in a digital world and due to the pandemic, people are spending more time shopping, meeting friends and just generally passing the time online. In fact, we are spending more time online now than ever; Ofcom’s annual ‘Online Nation’ report reveals adults are spending on average a record 4 hours a day online. Each time we visit a website we leave a digital footprint. Data is collected everywhere we go for a variety of reasons, one of those is to serve you relevant marketing ads, based on the websites you’ve previously visited or things that you’ve Googled. However, you’ll mostly be required to accept website cookies.
A good rule to remember is hardly anything is truly free. There is a price to pay for most seemingly free services online, and this is usually your information. A good quote from a user on the Metafilter website is ‘If you aren’t paying for it, you are the product’. When the ‘so called freebie’ asks for your email address in return, it’s not free because you’re giving your data over to them. So just be sure you want to provide that information to be marketed to later for example.
If you’re buying online and handing over payment details, most sites will have bank security level payment systems in place, or you can opt to pay by PayPal. So you need not be put off by shopping online. However, there are additional ways to protect your data.
- Check your device security settings, including new apps and social media.
- Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks
- Use strong passwords, the longer the password, the harder it is to break
- Don’t take online quizzes that ask you for random personal information about pets, favourite food, childhood, your children, marriages, jobs etc – each time you do one of these you leave a little more information about yourself online, giving more information to anyone trying to access your data.
- Check cookie settings every time you visit a website
- Keep software up to date
- Don’t save passwords on your device
- Use virus protection and a firewall
Own a business?
There are a host of free cyber security training courses you can get involved with to help give yourself peace of mine, and to protect yourself or your business, including ‘Introduction to Cyber Security’ from The Open University, which is supported by the government’s National Cyber Security Programme.
As technology becomes increasingly important for successful business operations, it is also worth considering a cyber insurance policy. Depending on the level of cover, cyber insurance can protect you from business interruption loss right through to privacy breach costs, cyber extortion and digital asset replacement costs. If you are unsure how extensive your cover is or would like more information, contact A-Plan’s Commercial Team.