2018 will go down as the year that data-leakage became a mainstream issue. Cambridge Analytica led the way with massive data compromise issues effecting almost everyone on the planet. And 2019 will be no better, so what can you do to improve your odds and reduce the amount of your data that is stolen this year.
1. Password Management. Stop using whatever system you have for remembering different incarnations of a small set of password. Use a proper password manager, we’d recommend LastPass, and do a full audit now to change those weak and repeated passwords.
2. Turn on multi-factor authentication. Ideally you’ll want to use a professional-grade authenticator such as Google Authenticator, you can use a weaker text-based solution but be aware it’s not as secure.
3. Understand that “if the product is free, then you are the product”. That includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. For them to make money they will not only push adverts but sell your data, behaviour, intent and a myriad of other data points to the highest bidder.
4. Use a VPN to access your services when out and about, far too often that convenient “free Wi-Fi” at the local shopping centre is watching everything you do and using that data for marketing. Anywhere your data is held is a potential source of a leak.
5. Delete apps and platforms you don’t use. Even if you don’t use Instagram on your phone anymore, it will still access your location and various other data points 24×7 and upload that data back to it’s masters. Even better, delete the accounts on services you don’t use and remove API access to everything you don’t need or want.
6. Set YOUR rules for what you are happy to share and do it in advance. If you you’re happy for your location to be tracked 24×7 then that’s fine, but maybe you aren’t. Set those boundaries first and stick to them.
It’s a pain and initially a real ball-ache to get started but once you understand that you, and only you, are responsible for your data security the better. GDPR came into force early last year and purports to support the consumer – and it does – but it’s no good to you after the data has been leaked.