In 2018, the Alabama legislature passed a revised ‘access to digital assets act’ that essentially allowed digital assets to be part of residents’ estate plans. The revision is a potent indicator of the extent to which digital files, accounts, and information have become an important part of daily life.
Digital assets include anything and everything you keep online — including photographs, videos, files, and social media accounts. Given the extent to which we rely on the cloud and other digital tools, what steps should be taken to ensure these assets remain secure?
Embracing Two-Factor Authentication
If you undertake banking or other financial transactions online, ensure you rely on two-factor authentication for all software and hardware to reduce the likelihood of hacking. Tightening access to accounts is a vital component of cybersecurity, both on a personal and professional scale. For very sensitive or valuable files, consider biometric authentication tools or security keys. The latter are small devices similar in appearance to USB pen drives. They work in addition to passwords on sites that support them. For contracts, key documents and other delicate pieces of information, blockchain can be an ideal way to limit access to specific information.
Use Complex Passwords
Use a password manager to create complex passwords. Some apps, like LastPass, RoboForm, and Keeper, save you the effort of having to remember a plethora of different logins. They also generate passwords that are impossible to guess based on your personal information. All passwords are encrypted and secured in a vault, so you needn’t worry about others hacking into your storage system.
Only Give Access to Your Accounts to Trusted Individuals
CNBC notes that when it comes to digital asset protection, the weakest link in the chain, are people. In businesses, for instance, accounts are often hacked (and sensitive data compromised) because employees have accessed accounts on public WiFi, failed to use secure passwords, or fallen for phishing and other scams. Tools like Google Drive can help you set permissions that stipulate who can access, copy, or download your assets. It is important to give people the minimum level of access you need to get things done. For instance, if you are working on a common project on Google Docs with friends or family, they should only have shared access to the file you are working on.
Secure Your WiFi
Restrict access to your router by keeping it locked if possible. When you contract a WiFi system, change your name and password, refraining from using typical names that others can easily guess. Ensure any problems in security are fixed by consistently updating security software and the devices of everyone relying on your WiFi system. Finally, instal firewalls on all devices and enable the firewall on your router.
These days, many of the items we most value are stored digitally. Assets include social media sites, images, and treasured video memories we want to keep for a lifetime and potentially pass to friends or family in the future. Securing your digital assets is a multifaceted goal that includes using safe passwords, using double-factor authentication, sharing access to files and accounts in a limited fashion, and securing one’s WiFi. Finally, cyber insurance can be relied upon when the value (economic or sentimental) of assets is such that you cannot afford to lose them.
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