Keep Your Data Secure
Written by Benjamin Friedman, August 29th, 2016
Chances are you've recently heard of someone being hacked in the last day or two. It's becoming a regular occurance to simply find out that someone was compromised, again. Nothing measures to waking up and finding yourself in the news, it's an experience we would all like to avoid. The question that stands is how? How can you protect yourself from the latest wave of hacks.
The truth is, there aren't any complete solutions. You can only reduce the likelihood that you will be compromised. Now to some of you this may come as a surprise, but if you think about it the issue becomes apparent, you're playing the odds.image credit pnx @ openclipart
Think of this in the context of a password, it's the key to your own digital space. Assuming your key is relatively unique, the chances that someone would guess your key are quite low. If your password has a length of 12 characters and is composed of digits, upper and lower case characters you're looking at 62^12 possible combinations, or 3,226,266,762,397,899,821,056. That's a lot of passwords! If you were to play the lottery you might find your odds around 1 in 12 million, so it's safe to assume your passwords are relatively safe.
In reality you're probably going to use recognizable words, phrases, number sequences (birth dates), etc. that could significantly reduce this guessing space. Ultimately you're playing against the odds, and in most the cases they are overwhelmingly in your favor. So you can rest easy that your data is secure, for now.
However I digress, keeping your data secure should be more than just odds. Someone could, theoretically (although highly unlikely), guess your password and gain access to your information, without your knowledge and potentially lock you out as well, all without you realizing it. This, is what we would call an assumed risk. Making our data accessible remotely means it can be reached by others, not just you. Judging on the nature of your data this risk may be acceptable, like for those cat pictures you wanted to upload. In other cases, not so much. It's in these cases where you cannot afford to risk your data that you should be considering alternatives.
All the modern technology in the world cannot measure up to the simple benefits of non-digital storage. Digital intrusion is relatively easy, cost effective and in some cases very low risk. Physical intrusion generally requires more effort, is generally less cost effective and usually a higher risk. The intruder risks being caught physically in the act, they additionally risk leaving evidence in the form of a security camera video or a fingerprint on a doorknob. Assuming you don't leave your doors unlocked or your safe open, physically storing documents or valuable information can be a more secure storage method. Offline storage renders your immune to any online compromises, hacks or accidental disclosures (assuming your data is not present or accessible online in any form, backed up or otherwise). Even better would be to grab a lock box at your bank, assuming one is available.
When it comes down to securing your data, don't make it easy! If it's of significant importance you should be stacking the odds in your favor. It just doesn't make much sense to place your valuables conveniently for criminals and other actors who might have in interest in your personal information. Next time you're considering uploading personal data, consider the potential costs if that data were stolen, can you recover or should you reconsider?
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