Far too many people do far too little to secure their data, a new study finds. With identity theft on the rise, it’s time to get (more) serious about your cyber.
Credit bureau Experian had 1,000 adults surveyed, and found most of them using a shocking lack of caution, and making it incredibly easy for thieves to steal their data.
For instance, only 38% said they manage their social-media privacy settings on an ongoing basis, and 32% admitted to regularly closing their browsers without first logging out of their online accounts.
Most engage with online shopping sites before first checking to see if they’re secure, and only a slim majority update their antimalware or antivirus software each year.
Perhaps the least secure thing people routinely do is to use public WiFi, which is notoriously insecure. Sixty six percent of those surveyed log on to personal accounts using public WiFi, and 38% log onto sensitive sites like bank and credit card accounts using public WiFi.
People aren’t any more careful with their smartphones, either: 30% don’t use password protection, and only 22% of those surveyed said they read mobile-app privacy statements before hitting the download button.
A full third of all the adults surveyed – and 48% of the Millennials – said they are comfortable sharing their passwords.
Here are some tips:
- Be aware of the security features (or lack thereof) available on your device.
- Use password protection on each device, and change all your passwords on a routine basis.
- Don’t use your pet’s name, birthdays or “1-2-3-4” as a password. Try to develop a password system you can remember, but that thieves cannot easily access.
- Use measures — such as a firewall or VPN — to protect your data.
- When using public WiFi, pretend that everyone around can access whatever data is on your device.
- Monitor your credit reports on at least a quarterly basis, and look for things that shouldn’t be there.
The rise in data theft is no joke; it is rising in double digits. While financial institutions, card issuers, payment systems and software makers are all working to increase security, you have to do your part as well. You can keep the convenience of your mobile, connected lifestyle, but you have to use precautions. The first step is to be aware of just how insecure your personal data is right now.
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