Tips to Avoid Sharing Personal Data Online
While we may think we are immune to the exploits of fraudsters and online scammers, the more information we have available 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 unheard of, today, it is necessary if you don’t want other sites accessing cookies and your browser history. If you want to ensure 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 doesn’t contain their birth date or name of their dog. Even if you are stringing together random phrases and words, you might 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 safe, you are going to need to use a two-stage authentication system. This simply means that when you log in with your password, you will also have to authenticate the login on your mobile or email. This creates an extra layer of security, making it difficult for fraudsters to hack your account.
As entertaining and useful as social media may be, they are also the easiest 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 birthdate 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 that only your friends can see what you are posting. The same goes for Twitter. Check your privacy settings and lock down your info.
Secure Connections and Antivirus Software
It goes without saying, but every time you go online, make sure 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 anyone 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 sites you trust and to delete emails you don’t recognise or want immediate action from you.
Keeping your data safe and secure is a little bit easier with these tips, but always remember, if it goes online, someone might find it – so being forewarned is being forearmed!