Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity and data theft. Take these necessary safety precautions to avoid being a victim of hackers
By Susan Alexandra, Contributing Writer, None
Connecting to each other is now a need of everyone. From checking emails to communicate with our loved ones, we daily spend hours on the internet; where a major chunk goes to social channels. According to Statista, “the daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 136 minutes per day, up from 135 daily minutes in the previous year”.
What Hackers can do with my Personal Information?
With the continuous increase in data breaches and data thefts, it’s very important for us to think about our privacy and security. If you are a victim of data theft, your information can be used for different purposes. According to VPNPro, “with just a few details, like your date of birth, social security number, etc., scammers can use your information to take out loans, get credit cards, or use it for more sophisticated phishing attempts”. Not only this! Hackers can collect your private messages, videos, and images and send it to others.
5 Tips to Protect Your Personal Information Safe Online
Spending time on the internet and social channels are good for us, as it helps us to get connected with our loved ones. But do we really care about our data privacy? How much time do we spend to keep our personal information safe? The good news is that you can continue using the internet, but in a safer manner, without interfering with your normal online habits. Here are 5 basic ways to help you protect your personal information safe.
- Regularly update your security
Many people don’t update their systems because they think that it is time-consuming or they simply don’t care about it. If your system is outdated, you can be an easy target of hackers. They can send viruses, trojans and different types of malware to your device.
With the latest development and method used by hackers, it’s very tough for software companies to ensure the privacy of their users. This is the reason we regularly got releases, patches, security updates, and fixes.
Keep your system up to date and make sure to use the latest version of every software that is installed in your system. You can also turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it. Make it your habit to run a regular scan for your system.
- Set Strong password
People usually set weak passwords that are easy to remember. Many of them, don’t even change their passwords for months; even years. As a result, many accounts get compromised due to these easy to guess passwords.
Always use a strong password for your system, social and other online accounts including your credit, bank, and others. A complex password must have a combination of letters (mixed case), numbers and special characters. Set a unique password for each account and change it once a month.
You can also use a password manager that can store all your passwords in a secure database. The best thing about a password manager is, all your saved passwords are encrypted by default to others and that are only visible to those who have login details.
- Keep Your Browsing Secret
Nothing is free in this world. And if something is free, you are definitely paying for something in return. Free public Wi-Fi network is a good example of this. Pubic networks are convenient, but it doesn’t guarantee your security. With few tricks and the right tools, anyone on the same Wi-Fi network could be spy you’re browsing activities. That person could be a hacker, data snooper or data theft.
People use public networks to use their social account, check their emails, or to do online transaction. If you must log in or transact online on public Wi-Fi, it’s recommended to use a virtual private network, which encrypts your activity so that others on the same network can’t track your activity. Make sure to use a legitimate service that you pay for. Once you get home, keep where you surf a secret by browsing in private or incognito mode.
- Never click on emails from unknown sources
Email attacks (including Phishing, Spam, Spyware, Adware, etc) are on the rise these days. We daily receive suspicious emails that require personal information or have malicious links. These emails often used to steal user details, including account credentials, credit card numbers or passwords.
An attacker can easily trick users into clicking a malicious link, which can lead to the installation of malware, the freezing of the system as part of a ransomware attack or the revealing of sensitive information. Malicious links include spelling mistakes or changes in the domain names.
To stay safe from such attacks, you need to be extra careful while reading emails and clicking on the external links. Also, do not share your personal details with anyone.
- Backup your data
In the past few years, we have seen a huge increase in ransomware attacks. Hackers usually encrypt user data and ask to pay ransom to decrypt the files of their system.
One of the best ways to protect your data is to keep your computer backed up. Remember to back up twice a month and set your computer to auto-update. You can also use an external hard drive as a way to back up your data. This will provide you an extra layer of security, especially when protected with software that enables you to access your data.
Help avoid compromising your information by taking these simple measures to ensure your personal data is safe from any potential threats. If every individual adopts these steps, the possibility of a cyberattack can be decreased.
About the Author
Susan Alexandra is an independent contributing author at Security today and Tripwire. She is a small business owner, traveler, and investor in cryptocurrencies.