As a trucker, you will cover tens of thousands of miles or more in a year, stopping at countless locations as you crisscross the country — and you may not think too much about how that puts your sensitive information at risk. However, there is a real threat in that kind of activity if you're not careful, so it's better to be cautious and more cognizant of the problems your job poses.
While these are hardly unique risks in the wider world, they are nonetheless issues you need to be aware of. The following tips are some good first steps to keeping your data safe on the nation's highways and byways:
1) Don't leave your devices unattended
The easiest way criminals can pose a serious threat to your data security is by just stealing the devices that contain all your sensitive information, according to Western Truck Insurance Services. Whether that's just your phone, your tablet or a laptop, it's critical to make sure they're either locked away safely in the truck (and hidden from view) or taken with you whenever you leave the vehicle. In addition, it's important to ensure you have a password or code to open any of your devices.
2) Use strong passwords and understand threats
Along similar lines to password-protecting your devices, all your online accounts should use long, complicated passwords that would be near-impossible to crack, Western Truck said. It's generally recommended that your passwords be a lengthy collection of random numbers, letters and symbols. In addition, you want to guarantee you don't accidentally download any malware or viruses that compromise your systems even after you input those complicated passwords yourself.
3) Don't just join any old network
When you're on the road, you may always be on the lookout for a reliable WiFi connection, but you shouldn't connect to one unless you recognize it as being reliable, according to Heimdal Security. For instance, if it's one provided by a well-known business for patrons, that should be fine, but if it's just an unprotected network that could be from a random organization or home, don't join it. Even when you do join a known network, you might want to use a VPN for an extra layer of protection.
4) Never save your personal details (or use them on open connections)
When using a public WiFi network, you should never enter sensitive information like your credit card number or Social Security number, Heimdal Security added. That's because you don't know who else is sitting on that network, intercepting any outgoing or incoming data. In fact, because you can't be sure what other people on those connections can see, it's important to avoid saving such data onto your devices in the first place.
5) Keep everything fully updated
Finally, it's critical to ensure you keep all your devices and software programs up to date, according to Cybint Solutions. Developers are always identifying and patching vulnerabilities and performance issues, and if you've gone even a few weeks without updating everything on your devices, you may be leaving yourself open for hackers to exploit a weakness.
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