A costume won’t protect your identity: Tips to protect personal data

Happy Halloween – the one day a year you can be anyone you want! But while costumes can protect your identity, they can’t protect your personal information from cyber criminals. Don’t get tricked and treat yourself to these five tips to protect your personal information.

5 cybersecurity tips sweeter than candy

  1. Beware of phishing

In phishing attacks, criminal hackers pose as a trustworthy source and attempt to trick people into clicking malicious links or providing personal information. They’re much sneakier than the monster in your local haunted house, and can cause a lot more damage too.

The attacks are usually delivered by email and often contain poor grammar and create a sense of urgency, claiming that you need to deal with a crucial issue.

Learn how to spot phishing tricks >>

  1. Back up your work

There’s always a chance that your data will be corrupted or made otherwise inaccessible, so you need to be prepared. Cyber criminals are not the only problem – anything from power outages to infrastructure damage can cause data loss.

Even slight delays could cause huge financial and reputational damage, but backing up your data ensures that you always have access to information and can remain functional.

  1. Use secure networks

Public places, such as cafés, trains, and hotels, that offer free Wi-Fi don’t usually have cybersecurity professionals ensuring that their systems are secure. Accessing sensitive information over these networks can put your data in dangerous hands and the consequences may haunt you. We suggest using a VPN (virtual private network) or accessing work offline.

  1. Patch your vulnerabilities

Every website and every piece of software you use has technical vulnerabilities that a cyber criminal could leverage. Fortunately, they’re routinely checked for vulnerabilities, and updates and patches are released to fix them. You can make sure that every application you use is up to date with a patch management system.

  1. Train your staff

Many data breaches are the result of human error, and could be easily avoided. It’s all too easy to misplace a work-issued laptop or send an attachment meant for John in finance to John in marketing. We’re not suggesting that you should expect staff to never make mistakes, but you can reduce the risk by regularly reminding them of their information security obligations.

One way to do this is to enroll your employees on an information security awareness course. Another is to implement a policy reminding staff to pay close attention whenever they are dealing with sensitive information. If someone is traveling with a laptop, you should instruct them to keep it on their person or locked away. If emailing a document, they should double-check the recipient.


The tricks don’t stop after Halloween. Get #BreachReady

You can discover how to prepare for a data breach by visiting our #BreachReady page. We break the process down into six simple steps and recommend tools and services you can use to complete each task.