For those who still think they don’t have digital assets in this highly electronic world, particularly those in urban areas and in other locations where people have access to digital devices like computers, tablets and smartphones and are connected to the internet, think again.
A “digital asset” can be personal or corporate information like a simple email address and password, an online bank or shopping account, or social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), and other information stored digitally. Heck, even some people created social media accounts for their pets.
Bottomline, they should be protected. If they end up in the wrong hands, it may lead to more problems such as identity theft, malicious software and email, ransomware, Denial of Service, and other online threats. Criminals in cyberspace have many ways and means to steal data from people without them knowing it. The 2019 Internet Security Threat Report by software manufacturer Symantec, bared that cybercriminals are becoming more diversified with their choice of targets and are using “stealthier” methods to commit identity theft and fraud so practically, no one is safe.
To safeguard them, let us count the ways:
A simple email will do – If someone suddenly dies or becomes disabled, the person can grant access to a loved one or trusted friend to access his or her important digital asset safely and securely, like an online banking account. While still able, an account holder can grant special access to his or her account to another person via a simple email, which may contain detailed instructions on how to access the account.
Password management can do the trick – A “Password Manager,” which helps generate, retrieve and store passwords in a secure database, can come in handy and help keep personal information and passwords secure. It will safely store all usernames and passwords like for multiple accounts and can set up a “master password” to allow access to every account. Alert emails can be sent if in case accounts become targets of possible identity theft, a very dangerous scenario.
Outside storage – If in case entrusting important information about digital assets to another person other than family members is still uncomfortable, try using an external hard drive. It’s inexpensive yet quite effective, too. Just keep it in a safe, clean storage area that only trusted family members or those granted special permission can access when the time comes.
Old-fashioned letter can still help – But if all else remains untrustworthy, try a “low-tech” or “old-school” way like a short letter with hand-written instructions detailing simple information on how to log in on the account to gain access. This can work, especially for families who may want to gain access to the bank account or email address of a deceased or disabled member to retrieve money or important data.
In today’s digital age, digital assets should be treated with importance just like a car, house, clothes, money and any other property, and should be secured and protected, especially information related to financial assets. This advocacy and more are what the World Backup Day, observed annually every March 31, reminds everyone to make backups and preserve data and other personal information and keep them from being illegally accessed, especially those with criminal intent.
Here in the Philippines, Globe Telecom pushes to cultivate awareness about the importance of protecting data and other digital assets through the #makeITsafePH cybersecurity campaign which aims to make the different stakeholders learn about digital citizenship and cybersafety.
To educate the youth on the responsible use of technology, Globe has also joined forces with Optus, Singtel, and Facebook in launching the Digital Thumbprint Program (DTP) which takes a critical look at the youth’s online behavior and help them develop insights into the influences of the online world and the choices they are making.