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You Drive Defensively, Now Learn to Compute Defensively

You learned to drive defensively. In 2018 we must compute defensively, whether at work, at home or on our smartphones. As Atlanta suffers through a paralyzing ransomware attack and Facebook revealed that your data escaped the privacy of its servers, it's time to get serious.

Tips to Compute Defensively:

  • Don't go paperless. Keep paper copies of bank statements, tax returns and key documents. Our generation and older folks are more likely to do this. The challenge is convincing millennials!

  • If your head is in the cloud, keep your feet on the ground. Don't rely solely on the cloud. Backup your important and precious data, including pictures and videos, to a device that you can physically secure. Practice recovering your data from the backup, at least twice per year

  • Stash your cash. Plan for a major Internet outage -- keep a stash of cash, checks, batteries and canned food -- if the internet suffers a 9/11-sized attack, supply chains will slow when they revert to manual processing -- think gas lines in the 1970s

  • Look over your shoulder when you type your passwords, keep your software updated and don't open suspicious emails (that's how spyware, ransomware and other malware enter our devices)

Compute Defensively on Social Media,

Be careful what you share:

  • Online privacy is a myth. The Internet is forever. Once your data is out there you can't reel it back in. There are no mulligans!

  • Don't say or post pictures of anything you don't want showing up on the front page of the newspaper

Be careful how you share it:

  • Diversify -- don't put all your eggs in one basket or allow any site to know too much about you - regardless whether it's Facebook, Dropbox, iCloud or Evernote

  • Use strong passwords, different ones for each site and write them down. Once a bad actor get access to one of your IDs and Passwords, he will try that same combination of every commonly used website, including banks and brokerages

Realities:

  • There will be more attacks

  • You can't really live off the grid, but you can be defensive about what you share! Don't be paranoid, be prepared!