April 20, 2024
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April 20, 2024
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Is Your Digital Information Safe?

While most of us use a computer or smartphone six days a week, we usually don’t think about cyber security, but maybe we should. As our lives become more dependent on the internet, and more items in our homes, such as our kitchen appliances, are connected to the internet, our homes and lives have become much more open to the nebulous internet cloud that harbors criminals.

Cyber security incidents in the news, such as the WannaCry ransomware infections, not only affected businesses, they also attacked home computers worldwide. Many people who didn’t pay the ransom lost all of their information, which was rendered unreadable and useless.

This column will explore new cyber security threats that affect everyone, whether a student with an iPhone or a small business that relies on its computers to conduct business, and will offer tips and tricks to help you protect your data. It will also answer your individual cyber security questions when submitted to the email address below.

We will begin with a few basic housekeeping rules that you should follow for any device where you store data such as your family pictures or important files.

This week we will start with making backups of your information.

I recently spoke to someone who had never backed up the information on his smartphone and lost over a year’s worth of family photos, contacts and other things that weren’t recoverable.

This story is not unique. You may know people with similar stories, or others who had to pay $100-$300 to recover information after getting infected with ransomware.

Many smartphone makers and/or cellular carriers offer to back up your devices to the internet or “the cloud,” like the Apple iCloud. This method is usually the easiest way to make sure your information is copied and can be retrieved if your device is lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair. If you are using a computer, there are various options from which to choose to back up your information. You can easily search for them on the internet.

How Often Should I Back Up?

It’s a good idea to back up your device at a predefined day and time, such as before you put it away for Shabbat or Yom Tov. This way it becomes part of your routine and you are much less likely to forget. In terms of how frequently you should back up, that will depend on what you did with your device that week. For instance, if you went on vacation and have family pictures on your phone you don’t want to lose, you may want to back it up before you come home.

If you own a business, you should be backing up your data more frequently, depending upon how much information you input on a weekly basis.

Test It

Now that you’ve backed up your information, it is important to see if you can retrieve it. Many people who are religious about backing up their data find that the information is no longer usable when they try to retrieve it. It is a good idea to try and copy your information back to either your device or to a computer. If you need more information about this process you can search the internet for How Do I Restore My Backup. You should be given various choices that deal with restoring your information from your iPhone and various other devices. If all else fails, ask your kids!

By Moshe Zahler

Moshe Zahler is the chief information security officer of Proactive Cyber Security, LLC, which assists small- and medium-sized businesses in protecting their business. He has practiced cyber security for over 20 years and has worked for corporations such as American Express, Deloitte, Republic National Bank and HSBC Bank. He can be reached at [email protected].



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