hacker guessing passwordThe need for personal data protection has skyrocketed as people rely on the internet for more and more of their daily activities. They browse social media to keep up with family and friends, pay bills, and shop online. Many use their devices for work, too. While the internet has undoubtedly made many tasks far more convenient, it also exposes users to data security risks.

Most apps and online services require detailed customer accounts that include sensitive information, such as addresses, credit card information, and social security numbers. Successful data breaches on large companies make for splashy headlines, but cybercriminals don’t limit themselves to mega-corporations. Businesses of all sizes can suffer massive losses.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, as they assume they aren’t a lucrative enough target for a hacker. However, their often-laxer security makes them low-hanging fruit. More than 300,000 Americans fall for social engineering attacks yearly. These include fraudulent emails and links (phishing), voicemails and phone calls (vishing), and texts or messages (smishing) that aim to steal personally identifiable information (PII) or gain access to accounts.

Tips to Protect Personal Data

Providing employees with cybersecurity training can teach them to recognize social engineering attacks. Other basic cybersecurity measures include:

  • Installing antivirus and malware protection software
  • Enabling multifactor authentication (MFA)
  • Using strong passwords
  • Never sharing PINs, OTPs, passwords, or other personal data
  • Never logging onto a site or sharing personal data on public computers or networks
  • Wiping and permanently deleting personal information from computers, laptops, cell phones, and other devices before disposing of them

Failing to protect personal information can have disastrous consequences. Hackers can swindle people out of their life savings and wreak havoc on their credit. Businesses can lose customers and suffer irreparable harm to their reputations. Without adequate cybersecurity insurance, many companies can’t survive the financial losses following successful cyberattacks. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more about protecting personal data.