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Data encryption is likely a daunting thought. But before you get too overly concerned, you need to decide if you have data that needs to be encrypted.

Here are some steps to determine if you should encrypt your data on your personal computer or mobile device.

Why You Encrypt Your Data?

You need to protect any personal data that could damage you or someone else if it gets out. This includes things like social security numbers, credit card numbers, and individual health information. If you are unsure if you have any of this information on your devices, you can use software tools to crawl your device to find pertinent information that you will want to have encrypted.

Not everything is going to need to be encrypted on your computer. Your photos might not need to be, for example. However, tax documents and business documents you are likely going to want to have encrypted. You will need to keep yourself safe from identity theft and perhaps your employer from serious data breach problems that might arise if sensitive data accidentally gets into the wrong hands. 

So take a good, hard look at the data you have stored on your computer or that you’ll be sending over email, and determine if it should be encrypted to protect you and someone else.

Why Do You Need to Encrypt Information on Your Personal Computer?

You might think that you don’t have to worry about anyone getting the data on your computer, but if you lose your computer, have the data encrypted on your machine to keep anyone from gaining access.

If you’re sending data through email, encrypt it. This includes things like tax documents that contain sensitive data like your social security number.

If you have sensitive business information on your computer, you’re going to want to have that encrypted to protect your employer if your computer should get stolen.

How to Encrypt Data

Once you have figured out if you have data that needs to be encrypted on your computer, you will need to get to work on encrypting it. This can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not tech-savvy. Probably the best thing to do for the typical user is to create a digital locker. 

This is a separate disc drive on your computer that you can use to store this sensitive data. You will need to follow some steps to make this effective.

  • Use a secure password. This is the only protection of someone getting into this file, so it should be long and complex -not something that can be guessed and something you’ll change frequently.
  • Any person with a password can read the files. So you might need to create multiple lockers to store different data that you can share with certain groups of people.
  • You will need to back up the files stored in your locker as they can still be damaged or lost. 
  • Make sure you have up-to-date protection software on your computer to keep all data safe.

In summary, the key to encryption is encrypting the right data. You don’t need to have everything encrypted, just the data that could cause harm if it ends up in the wrong hands. Staying up on what documents you have stored on your computer and how you store them will be important for protecting you and others from a serious data breach.

Seven Ways to Keep Your Mobile Device Secure

We often live our lives through our phones or tablet. They are small and portable, making it the best option to keep all of our appointments in one place and communicate through email and other methods. 

But if you were to lose your phone or just put it down and it got taken, would you fear your personal information getting stolen? There are ways to secure your mobile, so you don’t have to worry about what happens if your device gets into the wrong hands.

1. Use a Pin or Password

Preventing someone from getting into your device will stop most people from gaining access to your information. All phones have the option of a lock screen, and while it might seem inconvenient to have to put in that code on your device all the time, the thought of losing all of that information or having it get into the wrong hands is too great not to lock up your phone. Use a wonderful combination of numbers that cannot be easily guessed. It might be a good idea to change the passcode frequently as well.

2. Be Careful Which Apps You Use

It would be best if you only used trusted apps. Bad apps can be loaded with malware that gets into your system and can steal your information. Using major app stores like Google Play or Apple iTunes lowers your risk of downloading a bad app. This isn’t as big of an issue for Apple or Microsoft users, but Android users should be careful to use Google Play to download apps. 

Still check the reviews before downloading something, even from these trusted app stores. While it’s safer through them, there can still be malicious apps even there. So read those reviews.

3. Stop Advertisers from Tracking You

Your provider might allow advertisers to track you. You can go to Settings on your phone and adjust this, so your information is not getting in the hands of advertisers.

4. Have Remote Location and Wiping on Your Device

If your phone is lost or stolen, you can track your phone with the remote location device. You can also wipe out sensitive information from your phone or device, so you don’t have to worry about it getting into the wrong hands.

5. Be Careful on Public Wi-Fi

Being careful about public Wi-Fi is a great way not to use up your data, but the major problem with public Wi-Fi is that it allows your data to be available to anyone. So try to do banking while at home, or if you can’t, then use your financial institution’s app. Or you can use an encryption service.

6. Use Online Security Software

You use it on your personal computer, so why wouldn’t you use it on your mobile devices? They are just handheld computers. So check with your favorite security software company to see what they offer for mobile devices.

7. Wipe Old Gadgets Clean

When it’s time for an upgrade, make sure you take care of wiping your device before selling or giving it away. You need to wipe the internal memory, too, because just deleting apps can be restored by someone tech-savvy.

Keeping your mobile device safe is just as important as protecting your home computer. None of this is hard to do, and you don’t need to be computer savvy to do it. You can always speak with your mobile provider about how to set your mobile device up and keep it safe.

The Damage Botnets Can Cause

Botnets are a bunch of computer networks used to control and instruct things like attacking other computers, sending spam or phishing emails, and giving people ransomware or spyware. These are all very malicious acts that can cause damage to you and your computer. 

You should know that all of this can happen without you even knowing. By the time you notice something, the damage has already been done. Listed below are some damages that botnets can cause to you and your computer. 

  • 1. Take control of your computer. This can happen as quickly as 1-2-3. All it takes is a browser plugin that you keep postponing. Another way your computer can be taken over is by clicking on a link when you have no clue where it leads you. With the busyness and commotion of our lives, we do things without thinking, making it that much easier for scammers to gain control of your computer and who you are. 
  • 2. Launch a Distributed Denial of Service Attack. This can be done to a company, website, or the government. This type of attack happens when someone sends so many requests for content that the server can’t handle it, and it fails. Even the largest of networks have trouble “surviving” when botnets attack. 
  • 3. Commit advertising fraud. Computers all over the world can generate fake ads for people to click on. Once someone has clicked on them, they open themselves up to a world of dangers and loss of your information. 
  • 4. Sendoff phishing emails. These phishing emails come from botnets and people who are fishing for your information and money. They will send you an email that looks like it’s from your bank. A link will be attached. Once clicked on, the link will send you to a website that looks just like your bank’s website. When you fill out your information, your information will be available to the people waiting for it.

Listed below are ways to prevent your computer and yourself from falling victim to botnets.

  • Would you mind not clicking on any links that you find suspicious or do not know where they lead to? Even if they come from someone you know, their accounts could have been compromised. Be safe and ask them what the link is about. Don’t blindly click on something just because you trust the person who sent it or because you’re bored. Therefore scammers are so successful; because they know how to take advantage of you. 
  • Always make sure your firewall is on. Set the firewall to its maximum security. All applications will then be able to contact you when internet access is needed. 
  • Keep all your software updated. Many scammers get into your computer whenever it’s not updated. They gain control of the software that isn’t up to date and destroy who you are and your computer. 

Botnets are something you don’t want to mess with or come in any contact with. They’re powerful and can destroy anything they come into contact with. Be careful and always remain aware of the dangers that have invaded our wireless worlds. 

Types of Fraud to Watch Out For

Unfortunately, fraud has plagued many people’s lives. As times have progressed, more and more types of fraud have emerged. That makes it even more important to be aware of the frauds surrounding us.

By knowing, you’ll know exactly how to protect yourself. Listed below are the frauds you need to look out for and how you can protect yourself from these crimes. 

  • 1. Phishing – Often, people will get emails from what looks to be from their banks. However, once you click on the link they provide, it won’t direct you to your bank’s website. It’ll instead direct you to a website that looks like the website you want to be on. You’ll then be asked to enter your information, which is where these scammers will have access to all of the information they’re phishing for. 
  • 2. Identity Theft – The stealing of your identity has been one of the fastest-growing types of fraud in the world. You open yourself up to identity fraud when untrustworthy people get hold of your credit card or bank account information to buy items and charge them to you. 

Usually, the items they’ll purchase with your information are expensive and quickly put you in debt. The easiest way to protect yourself from this type of fraud from attacking you is to destroy all receipts, credit card bills, bank card statements, etc., before throwing them in the garbage. 

  • 3. Charities Fraud – Many people enjoy giving money to people who need it. However, there are other people out there that enjoy taking advantage of that. These people will set up websites that look just like a specific charity site. From there, if you do not notice the difference, these people will have access to your information. 

The best thing you can do to prevent people from taking advantage of you and your money is to pay attention to what you type in the search bar. Often, if you rush through the URL and mistype it, you could be directed to the fraudulent website where the criminals are waiting. 

  • 4. Job Scams – Many people looking for jobs have gotten scammed by people who promise a job, access to job listings, interviews, or ways to make a high income by working from home. However, before you have access to these things, you must pay these people or turn over your credit or debit card information. To prevent this from happening, remember that there should never be an instance where you have to pay someone for the promise of a job.

This world is crowded with so much evil that it’s often hard to keep track of all the dangers surrounding us. Unfortunately, we must add the threat of fraud to those dangers. Despite so many frauds, there are many ways to prevent them from entering our lives.

Usually, the simplest thing is just keeping your personal information private. Please don’t give it to people who don’t deserve it or don’t have the right to have it. 

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