Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tips to keep personal data secure

From 2005 to 2014, six large enterprises, including TJX Cos, Sony, Target and Home Depot, were attacked by Hackers, according to Wall Street Journal. The most recent cyber-attack targeted on millions of Home Depot customer and put 56 million payment cards in risk, which is significantly larger than the Target breach that occurred three weeks leading up to Christmas last year.  

The Home Depot data breach has started to trigger fraudulent transactions. Financial institutions are stepping up efforts to block the fraudulent transactions by rejecting them if they appear unusual. Some large financial institutions, such as J.P. Morgan Chase and Capital One have proactively started reissuing cards to customers whose data were exposed. While banks dealing with cyber-attack, IT companies attempt to provide advanced solution to better secure data. For example, Cisco launched a new firewall security solutions that automatically assess threats, optimize defense to protect the network of the enterprise. Other companies such as VMWare, McAfee, HP also launched or updated their data protection softwares this month. 

An increasing number of credit card enrollment in online payment and mobile payment services creates new security challenges to our society. While data volume continue to expand, cyber-attacks appear more often and make more broader impact. Once hacking into the computer systems, hackers can steal millions of users’ private information, including credit card number, name, address, and sometimes social security numbers. This has raised big public concerns.

As consumers, there are few things we can do to protect our information. Here are some tips about how to keep your personal data secure.

  • Secure your social security number. Keep your SSN in a safe place. Hold it closely and ask questions before sharing it with others. Ask if you can use a different kind of identification.

  • Safely disclose your personal information. When you change mobile phone or computer, make sure you overwrite hard drive, clear personal information that stored on your device.

  • Be alert to impersonators. Make sure who is getting your information, don’t give your personal information on the phone, through mail or over the internet unless you know who you are dealing with.

  • Don’t share too much information on social platforms. Consider to set up limited accessing to social network page, never post your SSN, phone number, address, account numbers to publicly accessible sites.
  • Make strong passwords and keep them privately. Be creative to the passwords. Think of some special phrase and use the first letter to each word as your password. Substitute numbers for some words or letters.

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