Data may not be tangible in the traditional sense, but it is the hottest commodity in today’s world. Criminals of all kinds understand that data is far more valuable than any material article.
With data, you can steal someone’s financial identity and intellectual property. You can use it as leverage in schemes that have the potential to topple governments.
All of which is why data protection has become a ubiquitous discussion over the past couple of decades. But that doesn’t mean people take it as seriously as they should. Many of us are complacent about our data, reusing passwords, using the internet without secure software, and not taking care of our devices.
We should all have insurance for our devices. If you don’t already have cover for your laptop in case of theft, you should get it sorted out immediately. It forms part of any renters or homeowners insurance policy, so you may not need to take any further action.
However, insurance cannot protect you from data theft. If a thief gets into your laptop, they have easy access to your data. As such, you need to protect your data on a software and hardware level.
Here are some of the security tools you need to protect against data theft.
Secure Laptop Bag
Your laptop should be difficult to get into, with a strong password as well as anti-theft measures like the Find My app. Ideally, you will know immediately if your laptop has been stolen and can lock and erase it remotely. But that’s not always possible and the ideal scenario is that your laptop is never stolen in the first place.
Get a secure laptop bag that you can lock to prevent the most basic forms of theft. With a secure laptop bag, no one can surreptitiously slip your device away without you knowing.
A virtual private network (VPN) is still one of the most fundamental tools for data protection. In fact, using the internet without a VPN is almost criminally negligent at this point. It is the equivalent to leaving your keys in the ignition of your car in a dodgy neighborhood.
VPNs are not foolproof, and you still need to make sure your data is secured in other ways – and that you don’t fall victim to phishing scams or simple complacency. However, by encrypting your data and hiding your IP address, they make it much more difficult for cyber criminals to hack you. They also protect you from surveillance, both from your own government and foreign governments.
More and more governmental entities are recognizing the value of citizens’ data and a VPN is the bare minimum to prevent this from happening.
Humans are woefully inept at setting strong passwords. This shouldn’t be surprising. After all, we are trying to choose a password we can actually remember. The systems put in place to ensure we create ‘strong’ passwords are also ineffectual. This is why password managers became all the rage.
The basic premise of a password manager is that the software creates passwords for you and stores them, so that you never have to even see the password. You access these passwords with just one password that you need to remember.
There are a number of password managers out there that you can subscribe to for a fee. However, the reality is that good web browsers now do the job for you for free. Google Chrome and Safari both recommend strong passwords in the way that a password manager would. Always choose the strong password and let the browser store it away.
Remember that anyone who gets access to your device is able to get access to your passwords on your browser. For this reason, your password or passcode to get into your device should be tough to crack. It is also recommended to turn on two-step verification when possible.
Protecting your data is crucial in today’s world. There is nothing more valuable to thieves in 2022 than data. Not only can it cost you financially, but it can also be used against you. Do what you need to do to protect your data, as complacency could lead to monumental issues.