Can you trust online businesses to keep your info secure? | Business
Released by The Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas:
In times of escalating privacy and data breaches, customers expect every business — large or small — that collects their sensitive personal information will protect it. Better Business Bureau advises business owners to proactively address customer anxiety and takes steps to both prevent and prepare for a security breach. BBB has endorsed the Online Trust Alliance’s Data Protection and Breach Readiness Guide, recently updated for 2012.
In 2010, the Identity Theft Resource Center documented 662 data breaches in the United States, and last year, more than 125 million people were affected by data loss incidents. Increased awareness of these high visibility incidents, as well as aggressive data collection and sharing practices, have eroded consumers’ trust and online confidence, according to OTA. According to a study by Zogby, identity theft will cost U.S. businesses and consumes $56.6 billion in a given year.
The Internet has become the land of opportunity for scams and, unfortunately, we see thousands of them every year,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “Consumers need assurances that they can trust the companies they do business with to secure their data, and the OTA Data Protection and Breach Readiness Guide is a great tool to help businesses protect themselves and their customers.”
As with many scams, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. BBB advises consumers and business owners of the following to help prevent a data breach:
Install the most up-to-date anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware software, and pay for the auto-update. Keep in mind, though, that even if you have security software installed, it is impossible to guarantee that the software will always protect you against all viruses, trojans and other malicious programs.
Change and strengthen your passwords. Make them as secure as possible by using a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers, and keep in mind that the longer your password is, the more difficult your password will be to “crack”. Remember to change your passwords every six months, and refrain from using the same password for every account.
Do not visit high-risk websites, click on links, or open strange email attachments. Downloading files from risky sites and poor habits of opening up strange email attachments, is as good as inviting hackers to break in.
Remember to backup your data. Some viruses do more than simply shut down your PC, they can damage your hard drive within a very short time. While this will not prevent your site from actually being compromised, it will prevent that hack from causing massive damage
In the wake of a security breach, it’s important to take action quickly. Small and large businesses alike need to be able to readily determine the nature and scope of the data incident, and take all appropriate steps to contain and stop the attack.
The 2012 Data Protection and Breach Readiness Guide reflects input from a wide range of stakeholders, including interviews with companies that have experienced breach and data loss incidents, and industry and breach analysis experts.
For more data security advice you can trust, visitwww.bbb.org/data-security, and for a complete OTA guide, visithttps://otalliance.org/breach.html. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.