How to keep your information safe from hackers and viruses

How to keep your information safe from hackers and viruses

(WECT) - With today’s technology, our entire lives are online, whether we know it or not. It’s important to keep our data safe from the dangers hackers and viruses.

Monday, January 28 is National Data Privacy Day. It’s a day dedicated to bringing awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information which can include credit cards and social security numbers. Manuel Lloyd of Manual W. Lloyd Consulting in Wilmington provides cyber-based security for companies not only in the port city, but all over the world. Lloyd has been in the data privacy business for over 30 years and says when it comes to protecting your online data, remember one thing: trust, but verify.

“If you trust a place, that’s fine. That’s fine to trust a place but you need to validate" says Lloyd. “If you’re concerned about data privacy you need to go to the shop keeper ‘Hey, what are you guys doing about data protection?’ They may tell you they just provide free WiFi. So you need to protect your data.”

Free, open WiFi is just one way hackers can steal your data. Be cautious when connecting at your favorite coffee shop or the local fast food joint. Lloyd says the best way to protect yourself while using the open wifi is having a VPN -- virtual private network.

“What it will do is, it’ll disguise you. So you’ll connect in here and it’ll mask you as something else or somebody else” says Lloyd. “It takes your data and breaks it up into little tiny pieces.”

Other ways to lower the risk of a data breach while using open Wifi:

  • Don’t use a credit card. Shopping, paying bills, etc. 
  • Don’t open bank accounts or look at statements.
  • Have the latest security software, web browser, and operating system.
  • Think before posting about yourself and others.
  • Don’t click on links from suspicious emails or messages.
  • Call the officials number of a company if you’re wary about something.

Lloyd says everyone is a target when it comes to data security.

“As individuals, you don’t have to own a business. You don’t have to be important or a big person. You have a social security number, you have a drivers license number, you have medical records, you have credit cards, and debit cards. All of those things are data and data is valuable so you should always trust, but verify.”

For more information about data privacy, click here.

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