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September 13, 2022

5 Online Behaviors That Put Your Data at Risk

Regardless of how many IT safeguards you have in place if you aren’t appropriately cautious your online behavior can still put you at risk. According to recent studies, nearly 99% of workplace professionals have been shown to have performed at least one potentially harmful action online.

This risky behavior is not limited to workplace devices, however. If anything, individuals are more likely to engage in careless behavior on their own electronics and due to a vast difference in security software and protocols, data can be at an even greater risk. To help combat this issue, the data security experts at PROSHRED® St. Louis have put together a list of online behaviors to look out for and change, both in the workplace and at home.

Stop Fraud

Downloading Pirated Materials

While everyone knows downloading pirated software, movies, albums, and other media is illegal and generally not a good idea, pirated goods are often so similar to the real thing that it can be hard to distinguish a fake. Oftentimes, these files are actually malware in disguise, leaving the door wide open for the criminals that created the malware to steal all of the confidential information on your device.

To ensure that your data (or the company and its customers’ data) is protected from these kinds of attacks, properly vet all software or media downloads by checking whether or not the source is legitimate and fully licensed.

Oversharing With Strangers Through Social Media

Cybercriminals are notorious for creating false online personas. These personas can be completely fictional or appear to be real people that you may know. If you add one of these personas to your online friend group, your private data may be at risk. Imagine, you have your phone number, date of birth, employment history, and current location listed on your profile with all of your settings set to “friends only”. Once you accept the friend request from the fake profile, all of that information is there for the criminal to see.

The best way to protect yourself in this situation is to double-check the credentials of the profile sending you the request. Look for signs that they are who they say they are and if anything seems off about the profile, don’t connect with them.

Using the Same Password for Multiple Accounts

Everyone is guilty of reusing their passwords at some point, so it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of people used the same password for multiple (if not all) of their accounts. You’re also likely aware of the security risks associated with reusing passwords as well as sharing those passwords with friends and family. If a criminal gets their hands on one password, they have access to every account that use it.

To combat this, you can utilize free random password generators that can be found online. The more characters you use, the tougher it will be to crack. Consider incorporating special characters, numbers, and a mix of upper- and lower-case letters. Additionally, you can turn on 2-factor authentication on the accounts that offer it so that anyone logging in from an unknown device must enter a code that is sent to the email or phone number on file.

Clicking on Links That You Haven’t Examined

Well crafted and complex phishing scams are incredibly common. Cybercriminals are able to create emails that seem legitimate upon first glace. These emails can appear to come from a person or organization that you are familiar with and contain a link or attachment that inflects you device with malware when opened. This allows the thief to gain access to not only your personal information stored on the device but also the network that the device is connected to as well.

You should always inspect emails that come from unverified accounts and double-check the sending address even if it looks familiar to you. If there are spelling errors or strange punctuation in the email address or body of the email, chances are that the email is fake.

Leaving Confidential Information Unattended

Whether it’s a confidential email, private account, or physical documents, leaving it unattended could result in data being leaked. An unauthorized person could walk by and steal any and all information that has been left out in the open. Because of this, many businesses have adopted a “clean desk policy” for their workplace. This policy outlines how employees should leave their space when away from the office and generally includes clearing their desk of all papers and logging out of their accounts and devices at the end of each day.

For additional support and protection, corporations are also turning to regularly scheduled mobile document shredding companies to help them appropriately dispose of confidential documents and materials. These companies come to the workplace and securely shred all items right on site so that there is no chance of them falling into the wrong hands.


Protect Your Digital and Physical Data With PROSHRED®

When it comes to preventing your information from becoming a part of the next big data breach, trust PROSHRED® St. Louis. Our team of shredding experts can provide your home or office with routine document and hard drive destruction via our state-of-the-art mobile shredding trucks. These trucks will arrive at the location of your choosing and securely shred all of your unneeded documents and materials while you watch. We’ll even provide you with a Certificate of Destruction at the end of each visit to verify water materials were shredded, when the service was performed, and which member of the PROSHRED® team was on site.

Don’t put your private information at risk. Shred it! Contact us for a free quote or to schedule your St. Louis shredding service today!

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