There is just about a month left to file taxes before the April 18th deadline. But before you take advantage of the cost savings and ease of filing online using tax preparation software, or before you download your return from your CPA and save it on your computer or to the cloud, you need to ensure your computer is safe to use.
I got tips from Shaun Murphy, CEO of sndr.com, about how you can make sure your Wifi, computer and storage methods are as locked down against hackers and prying eyes as they can be before you tackle your taxes.
1 When storing personal tax information on your devices, it’s important to note that security needs may differ according to device. For desktop users on Windows and Mac, you need to turn on encryption. It is not the default setting. Here’s how to turn on Bitlocker for Windows 10, and how to turn on FileVault for IOS 10.
2 Avoid saving tax documents on cloud storage platforms like iCloud and other similar tools. Plain and simple they are not secure! They are designed to be easy for you to access your files no matter where you are but it makes it easy for hackers and employees inside these companies too!
3 Back up that tax data and get it off your computer/tablet! In the event someone steals your device, don’t give them everything they need for perfect identity theft.
4 Store your compressed and encrypted backups on an external hard drive, or USB stick, for safekeeping between tax seasons. (Even better stick that drive in a fireproof safe!)