Creating Strong and Secure Passwords

It is common to hear how important it is to know how to prevent identity theft by securing your information while online or on a computer. One of the simplest ways that you can protect yourself is through a strong password. While the implementation of a strong password is often talked about, the importance of one truly cannot be overstated. We use passwords for a variety of reasons such as logging into email accounts, social networking sites, online games, credit card accounts, bank accounts, online forums and a number of other accounts. Because there are so many accounts, many people often use the same two or three passwords for all of their accounts or they use passwords that are not very strong. These include nicknames, names, dates of birth, maiden names or other predictable and obvious information.

The problem with using the same, or a couple of passwords for all of your accounts is the fact that all of your different accounts most likely have different security strengths. For example, a system that you have an account with that does not store much personal information or any credit card information, such as an online game will not have a very strong security system since even if it was hacked, no vital information will be stolen. On the other hand, a bank or credit card company will have a very strong security system since valuable information is stored on your account. Now, if you use the same password for both the online game and your credit card account, a hacker can easily crack your password and username from the online game and try to use it on a number of different websites. Since the information you have used for the online game is the same for your credit card account, they will be able to hack into your account even though there is a good security system in place. This is why you should never use the same password for various accounts. To be safe, you should also create new passwords at least once a month. Passwords should be at least six characters long and contain a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This will help ensure that your personal information remains safe.

Protect your Identity with proper data destruction

With the rise of technology, protecting data online has been a growing concern. What with identity fraud, hacking, and other scenarios, it is extremely important that individuals and businesses are aware of how to protect important data. Knowing how to protect your data using secure data destruction methods is incredibly important, so here are some things to consider so that you can best protect your private information.

The first thing you should do is figure out where exactly you are storing all of your data. For example, many businesses store their data on different platforms: in the cloud, on local disks, offsite on tape, and disk-based backup systems just to name a few. It is important to know where your data is being stored because each different platform requires its own type of protection. If you are aware of where your data is being stored, then you can take the necessary steps that will best protect your data. In order to minimize the risk of data leaking, implement a “need to know” policy. Essentially, this means that policies are created that limit the amount of access to data sets. Only certain employees have access to certain information, which will allow you to keep better track of things. You can also initiate log entries so you can know who accessed what information and when. A third way to help data protection is to increase your network security. You probably already have firewalls and antivirus software, but it is vital to keep these up to date and to make sure that your network security includes tablets and even phones that are used for business purposes. Another thing to do is to create a lifecycle plan for your data. This requires you to figure out how to securely get rid of old or obsolete data. This includes inventory on all old hardware that may potentially have information stored in the hard drive still. Finally, be sure to educate everyone in your business about data security and the ramifications that may occur if a system is breached. When everyone is on board, it may significantly reduce the chances of data being leaked.

Why Secure Data Erasure is Crucial to Protecting Your Identity

Proper disposal of important and personal data is of utmost importance. Electronic devices contain an enormous range of details, from bank accounts through to telephone numbers and addresses or confidential files, reports and data. Even the GPS coordinates used by mapping apps on smartphones can be used to deduce locations and to commit crimes. Photographs are similarly valuable to a criminal: although many people think they are not important in a crime, they can show many pieces of information which could be used to commit fraud.

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In some instances, data from devices is used by being put into a database, through which committed hackers will be able to use software to generate probable passwords – allowing them to hack into much more sensitive areas. The majority of computer devices today have some sort of inbuilt memory, from Dictaphones and mobiles through to photocopiers and obviously computers and laptops themselves. If this information is not properly removed when the device is at the end of its working life, it could easily fall into the wrong hands.

Identity theft is a rapidly growing area of crime and fraudulent activity which affects more than one hundred thousand people in the United Kingdom on an annual basis. Research in some counties of Great Britain found that up to ninety percent of computing equipment was thrown away while still containing pieces of sensitive information. The average criminal can retrieve data from these devices in under five minutes, compared to the estimation provided by the Home Office that it takes a victim three hundred hours to correct the damage done by fraudulent activities. Identity fraud reportedly costs UK businesses more than $1.5 billion per year.

At the end of a device’s useful lifetime, it is essential that all information is removed. Some people choose to try and reformat their hard drives themselves, whilst others use the services of a professional data destruction company who can guarantee the destruction of important information.

Why eWaste Recycling is Important for the Environment

As technology reaches further into the everyday lives of increasing numbers of people, the necessity of e-waste recycling becomes more and more important. In fact, it has been said that in the recycling of waste, electrical items is one of the fastest growing industries at present. Most people are aware that the technologies we use, from computers to microwaves to televisions, all contain a certain amount of substances which are very harmful to the environment.

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The convenience of devices like mobile smart phones, touch screen computers, laptops, televisions, tablet devices and many others is underlined by an innate life-span: new devices, updates and upgrades are constantly being created which supersede the previous incarnation. Each of these items will then be disposed of, and unfortunately in many cases they find their resting place in a landfill. Recycling of electrical items in this way creates significant environmental issues. Chemicals including cyanide and sulphuric acid can be released through the destruction of common electronics, which then contaminate the water supply and can have severe consequences for the ecosystem. Through natural processes of erosion and rainfall, the chemical contaminants make their way into the ocean and perhaps even into drinking water. After all, it is the natural cycle of water which evaporates from the surface of a lake or sea to fall as rain elsewhere, and chemicals can easily be carried in this way. Activities in some less economically developed countries, where a proportion of income is generated by using labor to take apart these waste electrical items to salvage any valuable components like circuit board copper, creates a volume of chemical off-spill that some regions have become uninhabitable.

Reusing or properly disposing of waste electrical items is essential for protecting the future of the environment. Making people aware of the importance of protecting the planet’s resources has to include an understanding of what happens to items sent to landfill and their impact on the global environmental situation. If you live in Los Angeles county, be sure to hire professional Los Angeles eWaste recycling services to dispose of electronic waste.

Identity Theft is up! More Reason to Properly Dispose of E-Waste

The proper disposal of e-waste products is becoming more and more important. Not only is it essential for the protection of the environment, but as the rates of identity theft grow, it is becoming ever more critical to ensure that sensitive data is protected from those who might seek to use it for criminal purposes.

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Environmentally, many people do not understand the damage which is done by poor e-waste disposal. Many Western countries ship their recycled goods to less economically developed areas. There, the people strip items for their reusable parts, such as the copper or other metal components with a resale value. The remaining parts are left to disintegrate. In China, the city of Guiyu was once known for its rice farming. Now, however, it is a major hub of the e-waste industry and the pollution generated has not only made the ground incapable of supporting crops but it has also poisoned the supply of drinking water. According to statistics, up to 88% of children suffer from lead poisoning as a consequence of this work, where circuit boards are ‘cooked’ to remove electrical chips and solder, wires and plastics are burnt to get to the inner metal parts and corrosive acid baths are established alongside the riverbank to help the extraction of gold from the microchips or to clear out printer toners.

However, the consequences also come much closer to home. There is a growing market for criminal organizations who are able to ‘comb’ the electronic waste for hard drives and other data sources, looking for stores of personal data which can be used to commit identity fraud. These groups are targeting the waste exported from the UK and from America, according to research. When this data can include online banking details, credit card information from online shopping accounts, or social networking information regarding personal details of one’s life and activities, there are several openings from which criminals might be able to exploit an innocent person’s data for their own purposes. The level of personal information stored on the average computer is incredibly high: in the wrong hands, it can be used to cause serious damage. Safe destruction of e-waste is therefore crucial. If you are seeking e-waste recycling services in Irvine, be sure to contact a professional e-waste company!

Data Destruction: Better Safe than Sorry

Nowadays with the rise of data theft and breaches, secure data destruction has become a growing concern for many businesses and corporations. Majority of businesses use some type of computer and laptop to store important and confidential information. Many of the things we do on our computers require entering our credit card information including online shopping and paying our bills. Even social networking can threaten our security. Although antivirus software protects our computes from viruses and spam, what happens to our safety when we choose to get rid of any old computers, laptops, and hard drives?  Antivirus software safeguards us against hackers but we must also be cautious of what happens to our sensitive material once we decide to dispose of our PCs. It is not enough to simply delete or overwrite files from our hard drives. In most cases, files are forever stored in the hard drive until completely wiped out and unrecoverable. That being said, businesses are encouraged to go to a reputable and professional e-waste company that specializes in secure data destruction services. West Coast Computer Recycler is one such company that provides on-site hard drive data destruction. Businesses fail to find a feasible solution to effectively destroy data which is why they should turn to professionals to handle the matter.

In many occasions, computers are carelessly disposed of without any thought of how it could affect our security and how it could impact the environment. By continuing to practice unsafe methods, you will eventually fall victim to identity theft and security breaches. So think twice when you throw away your computer. Without permanently removing data from your hard drive, you are risking your safety. As a matter of fact, if your information gets into the wrong hands, you can damage your company’s reputation. We have heard of many incidences where hackers and thieves have recovered and accessed deleted information using sophisticated data recovery programs. Not following proper data destruction methods may threaten your company’s safety as it allows thieves entry to highly confidential data. Before you dispose computers, hard drives, and other media storage devices make sure that all data is 100% destroyed and non-recoverable. Most hard drives contain highly sensitive material including social security and credit card records which is why it is crucial that you reduce the chances that your information will be disclosed and replicated. To reduce these chances, hire an e-waste firm that is and NAID member and follows HIPAA guidelines. A part of a company’s responsibility is keeping a business’s information confidential as well as its client’s information. At West Coast Computer Recycler, we will provide you reliable data destruction service to give your company the protection it needs and the peace of mind to know that all its data risks are eliminated.

Don’t be a victim of Identity Theft & Data Breach: Secure Your Privacy

For all businesses, keeping both proprietary & customer information private and secure is priority. When it comes to destroying confidential documents, many businesses often choose to shred their documents by simply using an office shredder. However, when it comes to destroying hard drives, RAM sticks, or/and USB thumb drives, we must rely on a more secure way to destroy these storage media devices. With identity theft, fraud, and data breaches on the rise, it is critical and imperative that businesses and large corporations turn to a data destruction company that is partnered with the National Association for Information Destruction or NAID.
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Although paper shredders are convenient and quick method for destroying a printed document, businesses cannot rely on this method when destroying a hard drive. To assure yourself that your document or/and hard drive has been completely destroyed and disposed of, it is vital that you choose a trustworthy hard drive data destruction provider that adheres to HIPAA guidelines and is NAID certified or is at the very least an NAID member. So now you may be wondering what sets NAID certified companies apart from those who are not certified. The following are just a few reasons why businesses are encouraged to go with a reputable company that is an NAID member or/and certified:

  • Certification of Destruction: Electronic waste and recycling companies who are NAID certified will ensure that your information is kept private and confidential as they provide a certification of destruction, confirming that your data has been completely destroyed and that your personal information will not be disclosed, copied, transmitted, or reproduced in any way.
  • Abide by Federal Law: Another advantage that NAID companies provide to corporations, is that they follow and abide by federal law, which again ensures your safety and protects sensitive data for your clients, customers, & patients.
  • Insured, licensed & bonded: Choosing a company that is insured, licensed and bonded provides an added benefit as it provides protection against liabilities.

Whether you are a small mom’s & pop’s business or a big corporation, be sure to locate a certified data destruction company who possesses all these characteristics. By having an NAID certified company handle your data, you will be safeguarded against identity theft, data breach or/and fraud. With all these resources available, why not protect your identity the safe way.