Tips to Avoid Sharing Personal Data Online
In today's technology-driven world, most of us use the Internet for both work and play. Whether you're creating an online document, buying groceries, playing online casino games or checking your Facebook feed, going online is something we do multiple times a day. But, have you ever stopped to think about how secure your information really is? The Internet has become rife with phishing scams, malware and viruses that attack your computer and steal your personal information, and not every site has the same stringent security measures as leading casinos.
While we may think we are immune to the exploits of fraudsters and online scammers, the more information we have online, the easier it is to become a target. Most people don't even realise that their information has been appropriated until months later when it can be used for malicious purposes. So how do you protect yourself and your data when going online?
Securing Your Hardware
The first step is to lock down your hardware. Whether you use your computer at home or at work, it is vital that you have a password or biometric scanner to unlock your device. This will ensure that only you can access its contents.
A few years ago private browsing was still unknown, today it is necessary if you do not want other sites to access cookies and your browsing history. If you want to make sure that your personal information is secure, always select private browsing in your web browser. This can be done on all leading browsers with just a single click. What this does is delete your history, cookies and temporary Internet files so that other sites cannot grab the info and target you for adverts or viruses.
Most people think their password is secure because it does not contain their date of birth or the name of their dog. Even if you string random phrases and words together, you may still be at risk. The latest AI algorithms are able to test out millions of phrases with random numbers and crack most passwords in less than an hour. If you want to ensure your accounts are safe, use a password manager to create and store your logins.
While it may seem extreme, if you want to keep your accounts and information secure, you are going to need to use a two-stage authentication system. This simply means that when you log in with your password, you also need to authenticate the login on your phone or email. This creates an extra layer of security that makes it harder for fraudsters to hack your account.
As entertaining and useful as social media may be, it is also the simplest source of information for scammers, phishers and fraudsters. If you have a Facebook account, delete the personal information you have shared. Anyone who knows you well will know your date of birth and mobile number. The more information you have available on your profile, the easier it is to gain access to linked accounts.
It is also important that you keep your social media activity private. Check your user settings and make sure only your friends can see what you post. The same goes for Twitter. Check your privacy settings and lock down your information.
Secure Connections and Antivirus Software
It goes without saying, but every time you go online, make sure that it is from a secure connection. People who access their social media account from an open Wi-Fi source run the risk of exposing their information to just about everyone on the network. For desktop and mobile users, it is also essential to run antivirus software on your device. This includes running malware and web security. It is also important to visit your trusted sites and delete emails that you don't recognise or want you to take immediate action.
With these tips, it's a bit easier to keep your data safe, but always remember that if it goes online, someone might find it - so being forewarned is being forearmed!