Cloud qualms are well grounded.

Feeling vulnerable these days? You’re not alone. Most of us have been affected by computer hacks and malware on our personal computers. We’re even more susceptible to cybercrime any time we store data remotely using cloud computing.

Cloud storage is a convenient repository for your private media. But how safe is the cloud? Your data can be vulnerable to prying eyes as you transmit it to and from the cloud via smartphones, tablets or laptops.

Whether from breaches on a single computer to massive attacks on industry, cybercrime affects everyone. Here are a few of the top cloud vulnerabilities and how you can protect yourself:

  • Update antivirus applications regularly. Make sure you check the user privacy and security settings in your software, email system and web browser to identify new threats.
  • Install all software updates as soon as they are offered, using the auto update setting. Do the same for your operating system and all third-party services that you use.
  • Create extreme passwords. Stay away from obvious or predictable passwords. Cyber criminals use programmed applications that will try every word in the dictionary in just minutes. Use a different password for every account you have and change them often. If you use the same password for a gaming site as you do for your bank account, you place your finances at risk if that gaming password is compromised. Make your password at least 10 characters, using upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Anything that’s easy to remember can be breached.
  • Think twice before opening attachments or links in emails, even from friends or family. If it looks suspicious, delete it.
  • Don’t transfer confidential information in a random public WiFi network, and never leave your computer unattended in that coffee shop. Anything can happen.
  • Be cautious about the information you share. Everything you post on Facebook or other social networks is also available to criminals who might use your photos or comments to find the answers to bank security questions. Just to be sure, check your financial statements regularly too for any unusual activity.

Like you, Benchmark Reporting Agency works with sensitive communications and takes great care to keep updated on security measures.

Check out https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips for even more suggestions on playing it safe.

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