Hello Cookie Lovers!
As many of you may or may not know, I am not a full time cookier. I actually do have a day job.
I have a Master's Degree in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance and work in IT. I very much love this technical side of myself and today (January 28th, 2021) is Data Privacy Day! Therefore I want to share with you 5 ways to keep your information and the information of your customers secure.
Setting Secure passwords
Secure passwords are a simple and easy way to keep your information secure but are only effective if you have strong ones.
My recommendation for passwords are:
No common words or phrases
A mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols
Choose different passwords for different applications
Something fun that I like to do with my passwords is to think of a common phrase or song that's special to me and choose bits an pieces of it to make into a password
For example, lets take "Somewhere over the Rainbow"
(the Judy Garland version from wizard of oz)
In this case I would choose the password:
SomeWhere over the Rainbow Judy Garland
There are 24 letters in "somewhere over the rainbow"
The ! is just the special character I chose
Update your devices regularly
You may not know but your phone, computer, iPad, and any devices that you use have codes in the background to make them work.
Sometimes these codes can leave holes and gaps that can allow hackers to access parts of your devices. Even if your device has an anti-virus or detection software, attackers may still be able to get into your device
Therefore the manufacturers of these devices create updates to seal up these holes with "patches" to keep them secure however the only way for your device to use these patches is for you to consistently update your device so it has the latest codes.
You can set these to auto-update for you or you can manually do it just remember to do it fairly often.
Apple for example just went through an update to 14.3 but there were problems with the code and now everyone's being urged to update to 14.4.
If you're unsure how to update your device (any device), a good place to start is to search for "updates" in the settings and you should see an "system updates" or "check for updates" option
Be wary of suspicious emails
A lot of hackers use email as a way of hacking into your devices. This can be done several ways
Clicking on links from people you're not familiar with
You should never open an email that you're unfamiliar with or click on links that don't look quite right.
Often times these emails will contain a single link and nothing else.
These links will often allow the hacker to install programs or viruses on your device to either watch what you're typing or to allow them access to your device
People pretending to be a friend or offer a service by asking you for personal information
Sometimes people will hack the accounts of your friends, family, coworkers, or even potential employers and email you pretending to be them.
They usually will ask you for some personal information or possibly for you to give them your information so they can send you a check to cash and send them back some of the money
This is called phishing and is the most common way hackers get into systems
Never send personal emails to people with your private information even your socials or credit card info. send it in chunks and make sure to secure it by using encryption. This can often times be a lock or key button on your email.
Encryption uses math to scramble a message so others cannot read it
Emails that look real but are actually fake
Every once in a while you may receive an email that looks like it came from your bank or service you use saying you need to update your password, your bill pay, or some other task. It will ask you to log into the website and when you do, it will tell you your email and password are wrong and it will make you retry it
These emails are fake and most likely, a hacker doesn't even know if you have an account at that bank, they just send these emails to giant lists of people hoping someone will do what they say.
The email they use, the website, the logos, everything looks real and you think it's legit however hackers can make all of these things look very convincing.
When you try your password, it's actually capturing what you typed so they can use that information to actually access your accounts on the real websites.
You should never receive emails asking you to log in for these types of things. If you're ever concerned for example I receive a lot of emails saying xx person has been added to my bill pay, go to your internet, go to the website of your bank, log in and check from there. Never click the links in the email. You can then report it to the actual bank or click the spam button
Check your Privacy Settings
This is very important especially on mobile devices that use a lot of apps. Make sure that you frequently check your privacy settings on the different apps and website you use. Often time your location setting is turned on when it should be turned off. Your CandyCrush game should not be using your location for anything.
Sometimes during updates some of the turned off settings will turn back on by default. Make sure to double check them after updating to make sure your information is still secure.
If you need help with any of this, the Stay Safe Online Website has a great webpage to help you update these
Don't overshare on Social Media
Lastly, we need to talk about social media. As an online business and a person living in a technology friendly world, we tend to share most facets of our lives.
Make sure to not overshare because hackers can gain personal details from your social media posts.
Examples of oversharing
Showing your address when you received "happy mail" from your fav cookie shop
Letting us know you'll be out of town all week
People can use this info to break into your home while you're out of town
And they know your address because they saw it in your happy mail post above
Instead choose to say you're "unavailable" or "busy" for that week
Oversharing health information
It's okay to ask for prayers and well wishes but if you're constantly posting about medical problems, insurance companies can use this information against you
The same goes for personal and relationship issues
Showing customer names and info
It's one thing to tag a person in a positive post about an order, event, or activity however make sure not to put their full name or other personal info for everyone to see. For example when I talk about how I plan my orders, I always block out the customer names in the photos to protect their privacy
So there you go cookie lovers! These are my top 5 ways of being #privacyaware Now go forth and start taking charge of your private information!
With love (and cookies)