Dec 23

Cybersecurity and Managing your Information Online

There are more reasons than ever to think about your online safety: in addition to cyber-thievery, hacking and identity theft, a growing number of information is gathered via social media. And the concern is not only for the general public and consumers, it also extends to corporate HQs and into the healthcare industry.

Recently, the FDA finalized its recommendations to manufacturers regarding Internet security of medical devices, recommending that all medical device manufacturers evaluate their level of cybersecurity and create a plan to actively manage all known and anticipated risks or breaches. It is imperative that companies have updated virus protection for their medical software.

For consumers, access to sensitive data like address, credit information, even social security numbers, can be easy for skilled hackers to access; to keep them at bay, consumers are increasingly encouraged to manage their online reputation, and to be smart about the information they share online.

Unfortunately, not many are heeding this advice: in a global survey, Microsoft found that only a small percentage of respondents said they actively manage their online reputation, such as editing or deleting sensitive information. According to a 2013 Microsoft survey of online safety habits, respondents from around the world reported that they did not use many of the key technical tools that are available to help them manage their online reputations:

• 19% of respondents edited or deleted info to protect their online reputation.
• 15% used search engines to monitor and manage their personal info online.
• 10% used a service to edit or delete information about themselves online.
• 31% took the time to get the latest info for protecting their reputations online.

Precisely because so many are lax about monitoring their reputation, the associated problems are widespread: it’s estimated that the worldwide financial and productivity losses in 2013 came in at $1.4 billion, and 16,300 cumulative years required to repair the online damage to personal reputations.

In an effort to educate the public, Microsoft suggests taking charge of your online reputation, by discovering what’s on the Internet about you, periodically reevaluating what you find, and taking proactive steps to cultivate an accurate, positive reputation. Of primary importance is keeping sensitive details—all of which could be used to defraud, impersonate, or find you—especially as it relates to your health.

The Internet is a part of our everyday lives, and now more than ever, it’s important to pay attention to what information is available about you online.