Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

January 14, 2014

Here are things you can do to help protect your information

Over the past month we have been blasted with multiple reports of retail stores having experienced what is known in the vernacular as a “breach.”

From Target to Neiman Marcus and now at least three other major retailers may have experienced a similar attack; we should take heed to what is happening.

If you are a consumer, and who isn’t, you should be asking how you can protect yourself. In our digital age this is a question each of us should be considering and acting upon.

First, you can go to your bank or credit union manager and ask them point blank what they are doing to protect your information.

Here are some key phrases to listen for: penetration test, vulnerability assessment, risk assessment, intrusion detection system, or encryption, if you don’t hear at least one of these then your suspicions should be raised. In fact, if any business is maintaining your personal and financial information then you should ask them how they are protecting it.

Second, you should use common sense when on-line. Use strong passwords, make sure you understand basic Internet safety, install anti-virus on your computers and don’t open strange unsolicited emails. I like the phrase, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

When you receive offers online that seem too good to be true, then they probably are! Use some common sense when you are surfing the World Wide Web.

Cyber crime is one of the most rapidly growing forms of crime in the United States, protect yourself today.

Is your data and personal information safe? The only way you can know for sure is to ask and educate yourself. If you don’t then you can only expect to eventually fall victim to identity theft and fraud, which is not a pleasant prospect.

David Biser

Oldtown

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