Celebrities such as Hunger Games’ actress Jennifer Lawrence, model Kate Upton, singer Rihanna and socialite Kim Kardashian were among those whose photos were hacked and posted to a website.
The FBI has begun to address the matter and have started questioning those that may be involved, according to Associated Press.
While it is unclear how the photos were obtained, it is definitely a reminder and lesson for us all. Each and everyday, we take for granted the vulnerabilities of the Internet. We have become so accustomed to uploading, downloading, sharing, posting, and going about our daily business that we forget about the vulnerabilities that exist.
Even worse, we forget as we post, backup, share or sometimes delete, that we may leave a permanent “digital footprint.”
So, what can we do to protect ourselves?
If you are anything like my mother, you may choose to forego the use of cloud storage, banking online and social sharing altogether. But hey, this isn’t practical for many of us. So for the rest of us, here are a few tips to protect ourselves in the digital world.
1. Build stronger passwords
Recent studies have found many security breaches are due to weak passwords. You know the ones…”123456” or “abcdef.”
Yes, seriously, people still use these!
So, if your passwords are simple, your child’s name, your date of birth, it is time to get to work. Consider using passwords that are not found in the dictionary and are a combination of letters, characters and numbers.
More importantly, do not use the same password for different accounts. This way, if one account were breached, it would be difficult for other accounts to be breached due to various passwords.
2. Think twice
Hey, we may have all been careless about sharing, saving or posting documents online with sensitive information. But we simply must think twice!
We have to ask ourselves:
- If this account were hacked, would I want this information leaked?
- Could it cause identity theft?
- Do I want to share this personal information with the world?
3. Forego cloud sharing services
If possible, consider foregoing cloud sharing services altogether. This may sounds ‘old school,’ but consider using external devices for documents, photos and other sensitive items that you do not want to share.
In addition, consider disabling your cloud sharing services, such as iCloud for now. Here is a link with step-by-step instructions to do so.
Hope this helps. This recent scandal is a reminder to us all that we have to be careful with storing and sharing online.
And thanks to all who have emailed about the article I wrote last week! If you are interested in taking a #Kemcents personal finance course drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Remember: your choice your future!
Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and a certified public accountant. Check out her ebook, Let your budget inspire you!