6 cybersecurity strategies to solidify personal data protection

6 cybersecurity strategies to solidify personal data protection

As consumers add more connected devices to personal networks, cybersecurity risk is hitting close to home. Here are steps individuals can take to ensure personal data protection.

The continuing evolution of IoT is redefining the notion of cybersecurity. It’s not enough to protect a network computer or the network itself against unauthorized access or attack. Today, it’s essential to protect every internet-connected device — hardware, software and data — regardless of where it’s attached. That includes guarding information that can be used to create a cyberattack.

As consumers add more internet-connected devices to their home networks, it’s important that they, too, follow cybersecurity best practices. Dwellings — no matter if they are single-family homes, apartment complexes or community housing — store information such as sensitive personal data about residents that is valuable to data thieves. Residential areas, such as mailboxes, parking locations and service set identifiers, can be vulnerable to hacking as well.

A secure residential cybersecurity framework should address the following six personal data protection protocols.

Closely secure passwords. Once a password is cracked, that’s all a cybercriminal needs to gain access to your information. At a minimum, passwords should be at least 12 characters and include a mixture of numbers, symbols and letters. They should also not be a common word or combination of words. Passwords should not be composed of obvious substitution characters — for example, using a zero to replace the letter O.

Implement malware protection. Malware refers to any kind of malicious software originating from the internet, ranging from adware to dangerous ransomware. Both Microsoft and Apple have antivirus/antimalware tools built into their OSes that serve as an effective first line of defense against malware. More targeted antimalware software, designed to protect against more destructive ransomware, is also commercially available.

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