It’s springtime, which means flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and wedding season is starting. Back in my day, weddings were organized by hand, invitations were hand-written, we called and organized registries in person and over the phone. All wedding-planning activities were handled the old-fashioned way. Fast-forward to 2017 and everything, from our relationships to how we communicate with loved ones, has changed thanks to the Internet. So, naturally, the way we plan weddings has changed too. Practically every aspect of planning the big day has gone digital, putting a lot of your — and your guests’ — personal data online.
My daughter, Amber, is the perfect example of how modern wedding planning operates online, and showcases just how much personal data is required to make a wedding a success. When preparing for her special day, Amber and her husband Michael registered for a site called “Wedding Wire.” They used this site to build a wedding database, manage their RSVP list, and look for local vendors. Amber loved the site’s ease-of-use, especially when it came to managing events from her mobile device, but as a dad, and cybersecurity evangelist, the first thing that came to my mind was how much personal data she was openly sharing with the site – and all those connected to it.
The site streamlines the whole wedding process by organizing venues, vendors, registry, all in one place. But consolidating data online is always a risk. Cybercriminals, who know brides and grooms are willing to put a lot on the line to create their dream wedding, can potentially compromise your personal data – like credit card information, email addresses, home addresses – in one location.
The same thing goes for social media. My daughter used social media heavily throughout her wedding. Not only did she have an Instagram hashtag, but guests frequently shared photos and posts on Facebook. While sharing the wedding day details over social media may seem harmless, it potentially provides cybercriminals with the details they need to launch phishing attacks and more. These attacks could not only target her, but friends, family and other wedding guests who can be lulled into a sense of nostalgia shortly after the big day.
So, when you’re planning your big day, make sure to keep your memories and your information private by following these tips:
-Spread your data out. Amber decided to centralize her planning process by doing everything with one site, which was efficient, but not the most secure. If one vendor gets compromised by a cybercriminal, it could mean connected information could be exposed as well. So, make sure that your personal information isn’t a one stop shop for cybercriminals by making using different service sites for each part of the process.
-Show your password some love. For whatever websites you do use to plan your wedding, make sure you create a strong, unique password when you’re setting up your account. Since you’re sharing personal, and financial information with these sites, it’s crucial to lock your account with a strong and complex password. And if you’re struggling to remember all of your passwords to these sites, use a password manager like the True Key app to secure all of your various accounts.
-Protect your personal data with comprehensive security. Whether you’re sharing your financial information with an online vendor, or using social media to help spread the love, ensure all of your devices are secure with McAfee LiveSafe.