Data breaches bring to mind hackers surrounded by high-tech equipment and electronic music thumping in the background. But personal information can be taken without a single tech wizard involved. These days, it’s easy to forget that some sensitive materials are still physical in nature. And in the digital world, lengthy online privacy statements and app permissionshave consumers virtually handing over such information, willingly. There are ways to reduce your level of risk if you’re willing to put in a small amount of extra effort to prevent the long nightmare of identity theft.
The first method information can be acquired is the oldest, yet it’s still used: paper documents. Because paper is antiquated, and most information is passed and stored digitally, those old files are easy to forget about. Many people still do their taxes the old fashioned way, and even those who have moved onto filing online have returns from several years ago, just sitting in a box in their office.Any other kind of paper work with personal information on it—either yours of that of clients or customers—can also be accessed by physical theft or accidental disposal. If this describes you, it’s time for a Summer Cleaning! The benefits of professional document destruction not only include keeping your personal data safe but ridding yourself of these files will clear up space at home and at your business. A certified paper shredding company will make sure your documents are properly recycled afterward.
In the same vein, old electronics and storage devices can be mindlessly thrown away or accessed via theft. Data is still recoverable from a formatted drive. Old devices and technology should be properly crushed to ensure complete safety. Be sure to use a destruction company that guarantees recycling of the remains like Absolute Destruction & Recycling Corp. in the Toronto area and beyond. E-waste is a serious environmental problem. Save time and money by using the same company to shred your documents, take care of your old drives, and recycle it all.
Online privacy statements written in legalese are hard to translate even if you do bother to read them. It’s often assumed that if a big company is putting a legal agreement out there it’s on-the-level. However, companies of all sizes experience data breaches of customer information. App permissions on your mobile usually say far too little. Most often, a general permission categoryis given, such as, “phone status and identity”, “read and send text messages”, and “read your contacts”. We tend to put trust in app developers without looking into who they are. Anyone for any reason can get an app approved to be sold. Take the time to look up what app permissions mean and consider if an app is really worth potentially giving access to personal data of yours and your contacts. Uninstall any apps that don’t seem safe.
Paying attention when using new software, applications, or signing up for a service takes some time, as does gathering your old files and devices for destruction and recycling, but the resulting security (and cleaner home) isabsolutely worth it.