When’s the last time you cleaned out your wallet or purse or secured sensitive data on your hard drives? Many of us intend to practice good security and protect ourselves at home, and many others don’t even give it a grey cell.
It’s time again to:
- Change all your critical passwords for online banking, investment sites, email, password safe, etc. (see note #1 below).
- Clean sensitive data off your hard drives (PC, laptop, USB, smart phone, iPod, etc.) that you no longer need (see #2 and #3).
- Remove sensitive data from your wallet or purse (see #4).
- Install Windows/Linux updates–don’t forget about the individual application updates.
- Back up your tax return, photos, password safe, and other files (on the devices listed in the first bullet above).
- Change your home wireless encryption key and admin password (see #5).
#1 – Change passwords
Everyone hates changing their passwords at work every 60 or 90 days, but have you ever wondered why they force you to do that? Because otherwise you wouldn’t.
So protect your personal passwords too. Remember to pick strong passwords and put them in a safe place (that’s a separate post in itself that I’ll get to in a bit).
#2 – Clean your hard drives
I realize that the purpose of laptops, smart phones, and other devices is to TAKE your sensitive data with you, or at least be able to access it remotely; I do the same. But you don’t need all those files from the project you finished 2 months ago, or that bank statement you downloaded last week.
I had a boss that saved almost the entire department shared drive to her laptop. There’s no way she needed to carry around that vulnerability report or my appraisal all year.
Besides, the inconvenient truth is that many companies (and many individuals) still do not encrypt their hard drives. If you’re going to carry sensitive data around, encrypt it. Cryptainer LE is a free, easy to use encryption tool.
#3- Clean your hard drives II
Don’t forget to clean out your temp files, desktop folder, and all those places that you and Outlook, Lotus Notes, browsers, and other applications “temporarily” save your attachments and files. If you don’t know where these folders are, ask your IT geek at work for help, and watch the shock spread across his face. You’ll definitely earn some brownie points with him.
#4 – Clean your wallet & purse
Do you carry any credit cards, ID cards, or sensitive info that you don’t use that often? Some purses have storage capacities that exceed some server farms, so purses can be exceptionally vulnerable. Why carry the extra weight?
Bruce Schneier says that wallets and purses are an excellent place for passwords, and I agree–passwords aren’t any more valuable than your cash and credit cards, just keep them close. My point is that you shouldn’t carry any more than you need.
#5 – Change home wireless key
Changing keys, or configuring one for the first time, can be painful. My young people complain everytime I change my key, but they can’t find a cheaper wireless provider. I know that Bruce Schneier leaves his wireless network wide open, but he doesn’t live with me either.
This is a guest post by Skyyler.