In what is the second largest breach in history – behind the Yahoo hack in 2013 – Marriott’s Starwood Hotels announced a massive data breach, affecting a staggering 500 million guests. Compromised data includes contact and credit card information, date of birth, and even passport numbers. While we can’t protect our information stored with major institutions, we can take control of our personal information security on our own computers. Here, what you need to know.
As soon as I got off the phone with security expert Robert Siciliano, I took his advice.
I updated my MacBook Air operating system. All it took was hitting a couple of keys and letting the download finish.
But of course I’d been putting it off.
My personal motto: if it’s not a must, let it rust.
Siciliano is the opposite.
He not only stays on top of everything, he anticipates trouble and takes all necessary measures to avoid it.
He advises the rest of us to do the same.
More advice from Siciliano about protecting yourself:
* Do check your credit card statements and check them twice. “Make sure they are clear of fraudulent charges. You can look at them everyday on your mobile and get alerts every time a charge is made.”
* Do log into the shipper’s website when you’ve ordered something online and get alerts about when the package is supposed to arrive. “People steal things. Make sure everything is insured. Put up a security camera at the entrance to your property. Cameras are a good deterrent when it comes to bad guys.”
* Don’t follow links in the body of emails from banks or credit cards. Instead, go directly to your bank site or credit card site. “If you get an email about your bank statement, ignore the link provided and go directly to the website to check it out.”
* Don’t follow links in an email for a product or service unless you’re positive it’s legitimate. “Bad guys send out deals that are too good to be true. Too often, if someone says ‘Click on this,’ we click on it.” If a company is advertising a sale, you should be able to go to their website to get it without using the link.
* Do consider downloading the free McAfee program — SiteAdvisor — that let’s you determine whether a site is good or bad. “It helps consumers navigate the web safely.”