Data security has become a big problem for both individual web users and businesses. According to a figures released by the Open Security Foundation, cybercriminals managed to access 267 million records in 2012. Personal information exposed by hackers includes medical data (9.4%), credit card numbers (6.4%), date of birth (11.2%), and home address (18.8%). The good news is you can use technology to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your personal data. Some of the technologies you can use to protect your date include the following:
One way of keeping hackers at bay is by encrypting all your personal data. Encryption involves the use of complex mathematical algorithms to transform plain text into cypher text. This makes the data unintelligible to unauthorized parties. However, not all data encryption types pass muster. The most common data encryption solution is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which uses 256 bits. Other technologies used to encrypt data include Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). For example, it is easy to verify websites that use TLS or SSL by authenticating the digital signature on their certificates. East Carolina University’s Information Technology and Computing Services recommends encrypting personal email messages and attachments, laptop or desktop PC drive, as well as transferable data storage devices such as flash drives.
Antivirus and Firewall Software
Encrypting data is not enough to thwart determined cybercriminals. It is advisable to add antivirus and firewall software to your repertoire of anti-hacking technologies. To start with, antivirus makes it hard for hackers to access your computer, destroy data, or even slow computer performance. Update the antivirus regularly or set it to update automatically.
On the other hand, firewalls make it hard for hackers to access and send information from your laptop, mobile device, or desktop without your permission. Unlike antivirus software that might only scan incoming emails and files, firewalls prevent communication to and from sources that you do not permit. If your computer comes with a firewall preinstalled, make sure it is always active.
Back up Important Files
Data backup is an integral part of making it hard for online scammers to access your personal information. For example, you can restore important files maliciously deleted by cybercriminals. If your data changes daily, backup the same information daily. It is advisable to schedule data backup when system use is as low as possible to speed up the entire process. To be on the safe side, backup important information off-site. Depending on the information you have, you can use magnetic optical drives, removable disks, digital audio tape (DAT) drives, removable disks, or disk drives to store data. If you can, use cloud computing service providers to backup personal data. This will make it easy for you to access the same information across a wide range of mobile devices while on the move.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Using the Internet makes it easy for hackers to intercept and steal data that web users send from one place to another. By using a virtual private network (VPN), you will make it harder for online scammers to access the same information. For example, secure socket tunneling protocol (SSTP) supports many endpoints over a single network. In addition, you can access data stored behind NAT routers and firewalls.
Keeping personal data safe can be quite challenging even for experienced online security experts. Statistics published by the Ponemon Institute show that the cost of a single data breach to the financial industry stands at $247. To prevent unauthorized data breaches, start by encrypting personal data, backup important files, set up a virtual private network, as well as installing firewall and antivirus software. You should also keep your operating system and browser software up-to-date.
Author Bio: William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to technology. In this article, he describes new technologies that fight hackers and aims to encourage further study with a safety degree online.