Everyone is doing their year end “best of” lists, and instead of putting together a list of the biggest data breaches in 2019, we thought we’d end the year on a happy note by giving you five things you can do right now to protect your data for 2020. They’re actually pretty easy!
Don’t save your credit card numbers on web sites, check your Bluetooth settings
If you’ve followed Shred Right on social media this year, you’ve likely noticed that we’ve reported on some of the bigger data breaches that have happened this year. Not surprisingly, many of the data breaches making all the headlines have affected retailers. But that’s meant consumers have had to go through some unpleasant things because retailers had their payment data, address information, and even birth date. It is so much easier to click one button to check out on any web site, we understand why people are compelled to simply hand over their data to their favorite retailers. But make it a policy for 2020 that no retailer gets your card information to store on their server or in their cloud.
Also, the Bluetooth settings on your mobile device should be something you’re checking on regularly. When you keep your Bluetooth connection open, you’re giving someone with some technical know-how access to your phone. Keep your connection locked down so you know that no one else is creeping around on your mobile device.
Change your passwords
In the next couple of weeks, Chrome is going to roll out a feature to tell you when your password has been compromised when you’re trying to login to a web site. Your password was likely stolen during a data breach, and Chrome will warn you that you need to update your password. Don’t ignore this warning! And if you’re using “password” as your password, it’s one of the 25 worst passwords to use according to vice.com, it’s time to get a little more creative on stringing eight characters together to protect your data. Take your password security seriously. Try using the password keeper provided in Chrome or choose from this list of password keepers vetted by tech experts to abandon your practice of using one password for every site login.
Shred your personal documents
You’re probably already using a secure document destruction provider at work, but what are you doing with your documents at home? Are you putting all that direct mail with your name and address in the recycling bin? Are you shredding your sensitive documents yourself? The shredded material from your home shredder isn’t being recycled by most municipalities, meaning, it ends up in the landfill. Your recycling bin is open season for anyone wanting to learn about you when you put it at your curb.
You can turn over a new leaf for 2020 with your personal documents. Drop off your shredding with Shred Right on Saturdays! Or purchase a sealable shred bag from us and bring it to our headquarters on Saturdays or to any public Shred Right shred event in 2020. See all your options for how we can help you securely shred your personal documents here.
Get rid of old hard drives
If you’re looking for a new year’s resolution that you can easily follow through on, let 2020 be the year that you gather up all the hard drives from the old computers you have in your home, and get them securely destroyed. Experts projected about 245 million new computers will be purchased by the time we close out 2019, so you’re likely among friends if you have one or more hard drives in your possession collecting dust. Simply fill out our get a quote form here, and we’ll get back to you with the cost of your project to securely destroy your old drives. -Consider making it a group or neighborhood project and you’ll likely get a better price!
Get a data breach plan
It’s likely that you’ve been trained at work on how to handle a data breach. But if your office doesn’t have a plan, we can help. You can get more info on how Shred Right can help your organization prepare for a data breach here. But what happens if you are notified by a retailer or web site that your personal identification has been compromised? Do you know what you should do first? Here is a great checklist from the Federal Trade Commission that will take you through the steps of handling a breach of your own personal data.
If you can tackle these five data security measures before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, you’ll be starting 2020 with more control over your data!