7 Tips To Keep Your Files Secure

protect your files

Are you concerned about how to keep your files secure?  The “future is now” certainly applies to the electronic and connected world that we live in. Most likely, everywhere you go you’ll have access to a computer or a mobile internet device with an Internet connection.

The computer is used for a vast array of things; research, social media, email, completing a school assignment, banking… The list is endless of things that we use the Internet for. The Information Age has absolutely exploded. For your Internet security and privacy it is crucial that you keep your files secure, in order not to have your personal information compromised. This could lead you to becoming the next victim of identity theft, one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada and the USA.

It is reassuring to know that there are some simple steps you can take to keep your files secure.

  1. Use strong passwords:  Your password should be a minimum of eight characters long; the longer the better.  Use a combination of numbers, symbols, punctuation, small letters, and capital letters.  Resist the urge to use common names or words found in the dictionary.  Also, avoid using personal information such as your phone number, address, drivers license number, social insurance number, etc.  I like to use an acronym for my password, combined with numbers, symbols, and punctuation marks.  To make the password easy to remember I’ll put “123″ in the middle of the acronym.  I’ll also capitalize the first character of each set of letters.  For added security I’ll place a punctuation mark and symbols at the end of each set of letters as well.  For example, I might use the acronym “My favorite movie is Columbo”.  My password would look like this:  Mfm!@123Ic!@
  2. Password protect your computer:  Follow my tips above for creating a strong password.  Don’t be tempted to configure your computer to auto login or remove the login functionality altogether.  Remember that your computer is the gateway to your personal information and access to the Internet.
  3. Use encryption software to protect sensitive data:Keep all your sensitive data in one main folder and use a software like TrueCrypt to create an encrypted volume.  This way, even if you lose your laptop, your data will be safe.  This is essential for your Internet security and privacy.  In the wrong hands, you could be the next victim of identity, one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada and the USA.
  4. Have anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed on your computer.  I use AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition and Spybot Search & Destroy, both of which are freeof charge, to help keep my files secure.  It is important for your Internet security and privacy that you keep your internet security software up-to-date.  Remember that your anti-virus software is only as good as your last update.
  5. Have a personal firewall installed to protect you against hacking attempts.  There is free firewall software, such as ZoneAlarm, available for download on the Internet.  Windows XP, Vista, and 7 all include an absolutely free firewall.  Ensure that it is activated.
  6. Be wary of visiting sites containing pornography, file sharing, warez, shareware, and the like.  These sites very often contain computer viruses, trojan horses, keyloggers, and other malicious software.  This is a real threat to your Internet security and privacy, putting your personal files at risk.  This could lead you to become a victim of identity theft.
  7. Do not use public place offering Internet access, to access your private or sensitive information.   It is unwise to even open up a personal file using a public computer.  This is because you will have no way at all to know if the computer has been compromised.

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