5 Tips for Preventing Identity Theft

Cybercrime is a serious problem that is only getting worse. But there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

Identity theft is a huge problem in today’s world. According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study, cybercriminals stole $16.8 billion from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, which was a record high! That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself from identity theft. In this blog post, we will discuss 5 tips for preventing identity theft. Follow these tips and you’ll be much less likely to become a victim of cybercrime!

Tip #01: Keep Your Personal Information Private

One of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to keep your personal information private. That means being careful about what you share on social media, not sharing your passwords with anyone, and shredding any documents that contain your personal information before throwing them away.

iStratus can help.  Our encryption software is the perfect way to secure all of the data you store on your phone.  Read more about why and how you can use iStratus to encrypt photos, bank statements, and more all in one place.

Tip #02: Use Strong Passwords

Another important way to protect yourself from identity theft is to use strong passwords. A strong password should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easily guessed words like “password” or your birthday.

And never reuse passwords! We know this one is hard.  How in the world can you be expected to remember a different password for every account?

iStratus can help with this as well.  By using our password vault to store your passwords, you are less likely to have them fall into the wrong hands.  It also takes the stress out of trying to remember the dozens of passwords we all have to store in our heads.

Still not convinced?  Consider this. If Facebook is hacked and the passwords are exposed, within minutes, a hacker can take that data and try to access your doctor records, bank accounts, and other financial data.  Having a different password for each account helps protect you.  We think it is well worth the extra effort.

Tip #03: Monitor Your Accounts Regularly

Another good way to prevent identity theft is to monitor your accounts regularly. Check your credit card and bank statements frequently for unauthorized charges and review your credit report at least once a year to look for any red flags. If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately.

The old saying, “what you don’t know, can’t hurt you,” no longer applies.  Knowing what’s happening with your accounts is a good step towards good cyber hygiene.

Tip #04: Be Careful When Shopping Online

When shopping online, be sure to only shop on secure websites (look for the “HTTPS” in the URL). And never save your credit card information on a not secure website.

Also, beware of phishing scams, which are emails or websites that pose as a legitimate company in order to get your personal information. If you’re ever unsure about a website or email, contact the company directly to verify its authenticity. This happened last year when a fraudulent ad was posted on Facebook.  The ad appeared to be a big saving on a very popular shoe.  It was only when the shoes didn’t show up that customers became aware of the fraud.

Tip #05: Protect Your Devices

Identity thieves can also access your personal information through your devices, so it’s important to protect them as well. Install security software on all of your devices and keep it up-to-date. And be sure to create strong passwords for all of your devices as well!

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from identity theft. Cybercrime is a serious problem, not just for big companies but for individuals as well.   By taking some simple precautions, you can make it much less likely that you’ll become a victim. Stay safe out there!

Phew, that was a lot of information! But it’s all important stuff to keep in mind if you want to protect yourself from identity theft. Just remember: keep your personal information private, use strong passwords, monitor your accounts regularly, be careful when shopping online, and protect your devices. And of course, use the iStratus App to protect your passwords and encrypt your data. Do all of these things and you’ll be much less likely to have your identity stolen. Thanks for reading!

Did you find this blog post helpful? Share it with your friends on social media to help them stay safe from identity theft! And if you have any questions about cybersecurity or identity theft prevention, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help! Download iStratus now!

Encrypt Your Data: Why and How

We save a lot of personal data on our phones – from photos and videos to contact information and banking details. It’s important to keep this data safe and secure, especially in today’s world where cybercrime is on the rise. One way to do this is by encrypting your data.

Encryption? What In The World Is That?

Encryption simply means scrambling your data so that it can’t be read without a special key or password. In this blog post, we will discuss why encryption is important and how you can go about encrypting your data.

Isn’t Encryption Only Used By Governments & Big Businesses?

Contrary to what you might think, encryption is more and more common among businesses, both big and small, and is now available for individuals as well. Why? Because cybercrime is no longer just a government problem.  Small businesses and individuals are more vulnerable because they are easy targets.  For the most part, they don’t believe they are going to be a real target and as a result, they don’t take precautions.

But How Important Is Your Data Anyway?

But who cares about your photos and videos, right?  And your bank information, do you save that on your phone? 

Stop and think about it for a minute. Maybe, you traveled recently and because you know your passport is important and you are a cautious person, you took a photo of it just in case you lost it. Maybe your husband called from the doctor’s office because he forgot his wallet at home.  Instead of reading the numbers to him and having him write them down, you thought you were being cautious by sending him a photo of the credit card and insurance card via text. If these scenarios sound familiar, you are not alone.  These are things people do every single day without giving them a second thought.

The bottom line is that if the data is important enough for you to save, it’s important enough for you to encrypt.

Yes, even your family photos.

How much do you cherish the baby photos you have saved on your phone or the photos from your recent trip to Bali?  Did you know that hackers may steal those photos and then hold them for ransom? Seriously, we have seen it happen.

How Can I Encrypt My Data?

Okay, all of this is good and fine but you need your information at your fingertips.  We all do.  So, how do you keep your data safe and still have everything your need completely accessible?

We have good news.  Our app can help.  By using the iStratus app, you can encrypt your data and keep all of your personal data safe from cyberattacks and even share it with members of your family with an encryption key.  Best of all, it’s inexpensive and easy to use.

How Likely Are You To Be A Cyber Victim?

We know it seems unlikely that you will be targeted by cybercrime.  But, according to DataProtect, “60 million Americans have experienced identity fraud, identity theft statistics show and 16.7 million consumers have had their personal credentials stolen and used without their knowing. This led to $16.8 billion being embezzled from consumers in a single year.”

These days, if you don’t take precautions, it is no longer a matter of if you will become a victim but when.

What Else Can I Do To Avoid Being A Cyber Victim?

There are a few key things you can do to help protect yourself from becoming a victim of cybercrime. First, encrypting your personal data is crucial. This means that even if your device is stolen or hacked, your data will be much more difficult for criminals to access. Next, staying up-to-date with cybersecurity news and trends is important so that you can be aware of the latest threats. Finally, following basic personal cyber safety rules such as not sharing too much personal information online and using strong passwords can go a long way in protecting you from cybercrime.

If you think you may have been a victim of cybercrime, it is important to report it to the authorities so that they can investigate and help prevent future attacks. Cybercrime is a serious issue and by taking steps to protect yourself, you can help make the internet a safer place for everyone.

So, there you have it.  A few reasons why encryption is important and how you can encrypt your data without making it inaccessible.  

Be sure to share this blog post with your friends and family to help them stay informed about encryption and cybersecurity! Thanks for reading!

And don’t forget to download the iStratus app to encrypt your personal data and enjoy peace of mind knowing your data is safe from cybercrime! Stay safe out there, friends!

Cyberspace, Let’s Stay Safe

Every day we engage in the world of cyberspace, and consequently, there are risks associated with security breaches for people and businesses all over the world that are appearing in media headlines. These attacks reveal the vulnerability of our data and the lack of robust security strategies in organizations, regardless of size. 

Overall, data security is vital to the well-being of businesses. Operations and records require protection. If compromised, reputation and fiscal damages occur.

In this article, we’ll look at ways iStratus protects you and your data.

It’s Why We Encrypt

In today’s world, people increasingly conduct their work on mobile or personal devices. Do we ensure our app is trustworthy and secure? Yes, all data is stored in an encrypted format and remains encrypted whenever it is stored in the ‘Password Vault’ or during migrations.

Begin with Strong Passwords

Create passwords that are long, complex, and varied. Specifically, passwords must be at least 8 characters long, include a mix of letters, non-sequential numbers, special characters, and ideally be as nonsensical as possible. In a point-blank attack, hackers try combinations of millions of dictionary words and numbers per second until one brings up a hit.

Implementing strong passwords is the first step to take in strengthening security in this space, to protect and prevent access to sensitive and valuable data. We recommend changing passwords at least every 90 days. Avoid using passwords like “1234567” or “Password1,” or having them written down for people to find.

Delete Any Redundant Data

We suggest deleting information and files you don’t use or need to access regularly. Applications like ours deal with sensitive information constantly as an essential element of our business. With appropriate information deletion or disposal mechanisms in place, this helps prevent stale data from being forgotten about and stolen at a later date. Erasing or otherwise modifying redundant data to be indecipherable also ensures it’s not stashed away somewhere it shouldn’t be.

Update Operating Systems and Applications Regularly

Having the most up-to-date iOS or version of an app is often the best way to ensure data is adequately patched and protected. Security with iStratus is regularly revised to ensure encryption is functioning adequately. We always recommend having the most recent update available. Since hackers and phishers are constantly adapting their approaches to exploit weaknesses in earlier software, it is advisable to update these applications frequently as possible.

Back-up Your Data Habitually

To this end, it also pays to back up your data frequently. It is not new information that this should already be a crucial part of your own IT security. With secure backups in place, you can survive essentially everything from accidental file deletion to bug-lockdowns.

Secure ALL Social Media Applications 

Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are fun and engaging ways to communicate with all networks these days. However, to continue safely, it’s recommended you review the privacy settings of each account periodically to protect the privacy rights of any information purposely or inadvertently shared. 

It’s important to know who can see what, where, and which platform is sharing what data you have and with whom.

Check the Privacy Policy of Apps

iOS applications automatically enforce regulations for all users through their HTTPS, but the same cannot be guaranteed for Android apps. 

It’s best to either check out the privacy policy or inspect the website for an official stamp from a data protection organization. 

iStratus, as we’ve expressed repeatedly applies encryption to secure and protect any data you send online from hackers, network snoopers, and also third parties. We do not store or share your information anywhere.

Be Vigilant Against Phishing or Similar Scams

Databases with personal information are a goldmine of information. A phishing scam relies on tricks into replying or clicking on a link in a bogus email or text message to spread malware, steal credentials, or even worse. We all receive these kinds of text messages daily. 

The reality is, Cybercriminals will use unprotected information to attain fraudulent loans, steal identities, and infect entire networks, crashing them entirely. We don’t envision this happening with iStratus, however 

“A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and of vice. The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness.”

~ Ann Radcliffe (1764 – 1823)

What’s The Best Solution? Prevention!

In current times, always be on the safe side and never click on links in COVID-19-themed emails for example. You can typically detect a phishing scam by reading the sender’s address. However, as life is often hectic, most of us would be none the wiser at first glance. Be aware, iStratus won’t ever send you emails. Another clue is often errors appear within text from automated bots. 

Vigilance is the key essential. 

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Raising Internet Savvy Kids & Teens

As parents, we want to do everything we can to keep our children safe and out of harm’s way, from looking both ways when crossing the street to always wearing a helmet when cycling. However, are we doing enough to protect them from bullies, predators, and stumbling across inappropriate content online?

Let’s face it, the internet is here to stay and with an ever-increasing amount of teens using apps on their smartphones, there’s always time to have regular discussions regarding cyber safety, if you don’t already provide those reminders to your loved ones. 

In this article, iStratus provides some handy tips for your parenting toolkit.

Be Open and Honest About Online Activity

It’s important to be informed. Have discussions with your kids about what apps they are using, what they are reading, watching, and who they are communicating with online – and keep the conversation going. Use iStratus to create a list, and look at them together. It’s essential to always remind them that this may be different for other parents and their children.

The bottom line? Listening and reaching an agreement about what is right for your family is what matters most. The internet and smartphones are everywhere, there’s no avoiding them. 

We need to reflect on our online reputation too if we want our kids to consider how they behave, interact with people and represent themselves in a public forum. They must always remember that these spaces aren’t private.

Who Are Your Children’s Friends Online?

As grown adults, we recognize that people aren’t always who they say they are online. Truthfully, young people can be alarmingly naïve about whom they are chatting to or connecting with if they are not taught to be cyber-wise from the onset.

iStratus suggests, becoming friends with your child’s social media circles and ensuring you monitor posts. There may be resistance to this but that can be a set condition for them to have online access.

Similarly, Stay #SocialMediaNetworkSavvy

Educate yourself on what social media networks and apps your children are using and use them as well. Remind your kids regularly about the privacy settings and reporting mechanisms on social networks. And being aware of what constitutes online bullying – both as a perpetrator and a victim.

Every photograph and personal detail that is posted and shared on social media and the internet contributes to someone’s digital footprint. The biggest risk with this is that once information is shared publicly, it can be used in untoward ways not necessarily expected.

Assume that anything that is put online is permanent (it can be deleted, but not necessarily before others have seen it or saved it). As parents, it’s our job to encourage our children to ask themselves before posting anything online if the information being shared (for example, their name, phone number, address, name of school, email) or a photo is something they would give a stranger. If the answer is no, then don’t post it.

If your child uses social networks, be sure they know how to:

  • Report inappropriate and/or offensive posts
  • Block someone
  • Keep posts set to “Private Between Friends” and not “Public.”

Use iStratus filing and folder systems to stay in control of your digital footprint, keep it all secure by only sharing important or personal information with people known and trusted.

Protect Privacy: Keep Locations Private

Most apps, networks, and devices have geotagging features, which reveal your whereabouts publicly and can lead someone directly to you. These features should be switched off for obvious privacy and safety reasons. Digital photographs also contain metadata (referencing the time, date, and GPS coordinates), which may reveal more than planned. Some social media platforms automatically hide or remove these details, but not all do, thus investigate these settings and be fully aware of how much info is being shared.

“The definition of privacy has changed – kids are more comfortable baring their souls online, but they don’t think about the consequences or permanence of the Internet.”

~ Elizabeth Wilkins, Editor, at Empowering Parents.com

Leading by Example is Key

Modeling the kind of positive online behavior we would like our children to use is fundamental. If they witness influential adults in their world being cautious and respectable while online, then they are more likely to follow in those footsteps. And, yes, this also includes limiting your own screen time.

Finally, the point is not to instill fear in our children or prevent them from experiencing the many educational, social, and entertainment benefits of the Internet, Social Media, or Apps. Rather, we must provide them with the skills and knowledge they require to make the most of the pluses while avoiding the dangers. 

There’s no doubt we’ll all sleep better by regularly discussing these points upon our checklists today.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.