Sensitive Data Protection Tips For First-Time Job Seekers

More than a million college graduates and students will be starting a new job or internship this summer. Most of them will receive their first company computer and with that comes a brand new set of responsibilities. One of those is preventing the theft of sensitive company data and their own personal information. Every two seconds an American has their identity stolen and over 277,000,000 data records of US residents have been exposed to date, due to security breaches.

Protecting a corporate computer helps you prevent your own identity theft as well as safeguard your company from unfortunate data leakage incidents. "Parents teach us to 'look both ways before crossing the street' but most of us didn't grow up hearing, 'make sure your password contains a number' or, 'install the latest service pack,'" said Todd Feinman, CEO of Identity Finder.

Identity Finder provides 10 simple tips to help you protect your computer at work:

1. Your password is a form of your identity and can be used to access your computer and all the information on it. Make sure it is at least seven characters, contains numbers, and upper and lowercase letters. Do not simply pick a word from the dictionary and add a number.

2. Peer-to-peer file sharing programs may allow people to access your company's data and steal personal and private information. Configure these programs not to expose personal folders.

3. Microsoft releases Windows fixes weekly or monthly. Always update your computer as soon as possible after they are released and never wait more than a full month. These fixes plug holes that hackers know how to exploit to gain access to your files.

4. If you set up a wireless network in your home or office, enable the security features to prevent people from joining your network.

5. Don't leave your laptop unattended at the bar or coffee shop. Hundreds of thousands of laptops are stolen each year.

6. Don't purchase anything online with your credit card unless the website is secured with SSL, as indicated by a padlock in your web browser.

7. Don't click on e-mail messages that contain hyperlinks to websites. Close the e-mail and type the website address in manually. Phishing attacks are increasingly common and attempt to trick you into visiting false websites to steal your personal information.

8. Never enter private company information on public computers such as in a hotel, library or at school. These systems may be infected with a keylogger or spyware capturing everything you type.

9. Never e-mail or instant message private company information. Those communications are usually not secure and can be listened in upon by other people.

10. Make sure you don't store any personal or confidential information on your computer unsecured.

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