Robert M. Duplessis, CRISC, CISM, CBVM
Senior Vice President/Information Security Officer
Every January 28, security experts observe National Data Privacy Day, though the reason is far from celebratory. Instead, the day is devoted to raising awareness about the risks of sharing data in daily life. Over the years that awareness has evolved from warnings that using birthdays as PINs is a bit risky to the new reality that the privacy of data—everyone’s data—is under constant attack.
Hacker attacks on computers now launch at a rate of every 39 seconds*. Breaches that result in records being stolen are occurring at a rate of 158,727 per hour*! Worse, the pools of information available to be hacked are increasing, thanks to the growth of the internet of things (IoT).
The New Normal: Data in Motion
You may actively use settings to restrict public access to your social media accounts and practice good self-policing of your personal data. However, every time you shop for books or boots online, ask your voice-activated device a trivia question, stream videos or even send your DNA to a lab to learn about your ancestry, you are giving up valuable data about yourself. And, if you are like most people, you do so without considering the security risks.
7 Ways to Play Defense
While it may seem as if society in general has already lost the war on privacy, that doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself against personal loss. There are tools you can use and actions you can take to keep your data from being turned against you. Here are a few of these.
- Conduct an annual audit of your data. Determine where it is and what each organization you deal with knows about you. Uninstall any old apps—the older they are and the less frequently they are updated, the more vulnerable they are to hacking.
- Monitor your credit reports. The FDIC recommends visiting www.annualcreditreport.com* or calling 877-322-8228 to acquire a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus. These reports function as early detection systems if someone is trying to borrow your identity.
- Be an early filer. Because many security breaches in the retail and health care industries have compromised social security numbers, file your tax return as early as possible, especially if you anticipate a refund. Fraudulent filings delay refunds for months while the IRS straightens things out.
- Don’t trust, before you verify. Before giving up any information online through an email or text, verify that the person or company asking for it is legit. Hover over the address line to see where the email is really coming from. Verify any phone numbers through an independent online search before calling.
- Use tools designed to keep your information safe. Our Trusteer Rapport is security software that protects your online banking communications from being stolen. It works in addition to any antivirus or firewalls and is designed to catch fraud immediately. We also offer Security Manager, an authentication product for businesses or personal customers that generates passcodes via text and works in conjunction with your current security features.
- Secure you debit card. When you misplace your debit card, use our SecurLOCK™ Equip Mobile App to turn your debit card on and off and monitor spending.
Working Hard to Keep You Safe
It’s unfortunate that every time you touch a screen or pay by phone, credit or debit card you give up some personal information. We are committed to helping you protect your most valued possessions.
Whenever you have any doubts about your bank accounts, visit our FAQ section. Also, feel free to contact us online or call 877-866-0202. We are always happy to talk through your concerns, privately.
- Sobers, Rob. “60 Must-Know Cybersecurity Statistics for 2019.” Varonis. Web. January 2, 2019. <https://www.varonis.com/blog/cybersecurity-statistics/*>
- “13 Alarming Cyber Security Facts and Stats.” Cybint. Web. December 3, 2018. <https://www.cybintsolutions.com/cyber-security-facts-stats/*>
- “13 Alarming Cyber Security Facts and Stats.”
- Sobers, Rob. “60 Must-Know Cybersecurity Statistics for 2019.”
- “13 Alarming Cyber Security Facts and Stats.”
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