With each passing day, Internet-based businesses that operate 24/7 are becoming more and more popular. This phenomenon is causing large numbers of people to integrate the Internet, smartphones, and even smart appliances into their lives. We use these devices to manage our investments and savings, to automate our homes, to shop online, and to interact with other people. The digitization of society has many benefits, but it also introduces a number of risks. Individuals operating in this brave new world have to be mindful of these risks in order to avoid the potential negative consequences.
People are accustomed to dealing with the threats of the real, physical world, but perhaps a little less so with risks associated with the digital world. Nevertheless, each world poses the same dangers: scams, fraud, theft, and even prying neighbors. Consequently, those of us who operate digitally— which is just about everyone nowadays —should adopt the same level of precaution in the digital world as we do in the physical world, if not more. Individuals should adopt the following good habits in order to have peace of mind in their virtual existence:
To prevent unauthorized access to your devices
- Install antivirus software to analyze downloads and protect your equipment from malware.
- Do NOT use the same password for all your accounts and devices.
- Keep all your software updated with the latest versions available: operating systems, browsers, programs, applications, etc.
- Configure your router with security options and avoid connecting to public networks if you are going to download data or send personal data.
To avoid falling prey to social engineering
- Configure your social media privacy settings and review settings about who can see what kind of posts.
- Avoid revealing your or your family members’ location: photos that identify flights, vacation photos posted while you are still on holiday, etc.
To prevent loss of data
- Only keep the data that you use on your device; make security copies of all the rest.
- Keep security copies apart from your devices: uploaded in the cloud, copies in your house, etc. so that they don’t disappear if you lose your device.
To identify scams
- Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true: for example, job offers that are excessively well-paid; the promise of great gifts for merely filling out a form; SMS or texts for fake supermarket promotions, etc.
- Calls from service technicians when no issue has been reported previously; surely, these are cases of the so-called Microsoft Hoax.
As one can see, most of the threats lurking in the digital world can be avoided by acting accordingly when using the Internet and handling data responsibly. To this end, this year BBVA has once again demonstrated its commitment to digital safety by offering training to employees, families, and third-party collaborators during special instructional days organized from November 22-30. Training was kicked-off with a session that showcased the role of women in cybersecurity and will end with a family day when there will be activities specifically organized for each age group and familial situation.
Remember, despite all the technical safety measures installed on your devices: You are the best defense!