Taking Personal Responsibility for Data Security

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-04-27 Print this article Print

5. Is an offline world better?

By sharing information on the Web, more opportunities are available to Internet users, but is that really best? The offline world, while still rife with security issues of its own, is arguably a more manageable environment when it comes to safeguarding personal information. When given the chance to choose an offline option or to share information online, opting for the disconnected method might be best.

6. Keeping tabs is important

A key component in online security involves being proactive. Gone are the days when users can simply share information online and go about their day. Now, folks must constantly monitor credit card statements and credit reports to ensure information isn't being stolen or used for illegal activities. The sooner an issue is discovered, the sooner it can be resolved.

7. The future is a scary place

Even though major breaches like the PlayStation Network issue happen more regularly than some want to admit, every sign points to the cloud becoming an even more important aspect of the average person's daily life going forward. Realizing that, the future is looking scarier than ever. With bank information, credit card data and Social Security numbers flying freely across the Internet each day, the chances of PlayStation Network-like issues cropping up again are growing greater by the hour.

8. Security tools are useful

Just about everyone knows about antivirus and anti-spyware tools, but it's important that those same folks use Web-security software, as well. Those options ensure encrypted communication, prevent phishing attacks and perform several other security functions to limit the chances of folks getting themselves into trouble on the Web. Online-security tools won't entirely safeguard unsuspecting victims, but they go a long way in helping one's chances of staying safe.

9. The enemy is everywhere

There is a common misconception in the marketplace that cyber-criminals are only lurking on bank Websites and other places where they might have the easiest chance of stealing financial information. But as the PlayStation Network breach has shown, they're everywhere. And they won't stop at anything to steal sensitive information from victims. The last thing any Web user should do is believe that any single site or service is safe from criminals.

10. The fewer, the better

Though just about every site and service wants users to offer up personal information, it's best to limit the exposure of that content to as little as possible. For the most part, signing up for a single service in each category, such as social networks, online gaming and cloud-based storage, is best. Offering up credit card information to every site a person comes across only maximizes the chances of a security breach. On the Web, the fewer the points of exposure, the better.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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