Part of this month’s cybersecurity initiative should be to get serious about your own personal data. At work and at play, you need to take better ownership of your data using a three-pronged attack: staying safe on social media, keeping a watchful eye on applications and updating your privacy settings.

Privacy Settings

Keeping your privacy settings up to date is intrinsic to owing your IT. Often social media platforms, software suppliers, online magazines and many other sites have their default settings in their favour and not yours. Before using a new application – even an online game – check, and if necessary, change the settings. You don’t want to give your email away for free.

Your privacy on social media should be set so that your personal data, messages and photos are only seen by approved individuals. Never go ‘public’ unless you have a very good reason for doing so.

Applications

Most apps from Google Play or App Store are verified and safe – but not all. You need to install apps only from reputable sources and from the mobile device operating system official app store. If you don’t, you risk getting infected with malicious software as the free app can be disguised as a Trojan horse. You also run the risk of picking up insidious ransomware, a pest that cost the global market £8 billion so far this year.

Social Media

You also need to own IT on social media and get to grips with the dangers that it poses. Don’t share personal information willy-nilly. Haphazard and careless posting and sharing will turn you into a victim of social engineering. Although social media has become a primary means of communication in the world as we know it, all the while, be aware the anything that you write, say or post has the potential to become public.

Use social media with caution and be mindful of displaying personal information such as birth dates, specific and detailed information about upcoming events, holiday plans, or personal information such as the description and location of your office or home. Also, beware of doxing, the practice of gathering as much personal digital information as possible and then broadcasting it publicly.

You need to own your IT and be responsible for it. Use strong passwords, frequently update your software and use multi-factor authentication. Not doing this could mean losing data and identity for a long time into the foreseeable future.