No matter how much time we spend on the internet, we should take measures to protect our personal data from cyberthieves and other criminals. You can stay safe without compromising on your everyday routine. Here are five easy ways to do that. You can refer to UnMask for more ways to protect your data online.
1. Strong and Unique Passwords and Passcodes
If an account of yours was breached and you’re using the same password for other accounts, then those face a high risk too. The ideal password is a combination of special characters, upper and lower case letters, and numbers and is at least ten characters long. Use a password manager to remember all your different ones.
Losing a tablet or smartphone is bad enough, but imagine what it would be like if the lucky finder got access to your personal information on the device, including your social media accounts and your email. We recommend using a passcode to help keep your personal data, apps, and accounts protected. To be extra safe, equip desktop and laptop computers with passcodes too.
2. Be Wary of “Great” Offers
Something that sounds too good to be true probably is. Whether it appears on your favorite site or comes in an email that seems legitimate, know that it takes just one infected attachment or a single click on a malicious link to compromise your security immensely.
3. Don’t Overshare
There’s never anything good about oversharing, be it gushing to coworkers, spilling your secrets to acquaintances, or posting too much information on social media. Pay attention to your privacy settings and the posts and pictures you share. Do the research and consult experts. Check your children’s privacy settings on social media if you’re a parent. Explain to them what’s safe to share and what isn’t.
4. Close Inactive Accounts
Many of us have online accounts that we never use. In the event of a breach, cybercriminals will get access to any personal data linked to that account. For example, your old email could have healthcare forms, past bank statements, and other documents containing a lot of personal information. This puts you at risk of identity theft. It’s a good idea to spend time identifying unused accounts and closing them. You need as little personal information online as possible.
5. When is Free not a Good Thing?
Free wi-fi may be a big convenience, but free public networks rarely offer much in the way of security. Anyone on the same network can intercept your online activity with the right tools. Never enter a debit or credit card number or log in to a bank account on public wi-fi.
Even those networks with password protection are no safer than the people who know the password. If you need to carry out sensitive online transactions, do so on a secure network, perhaps one in the privacy of your own home.
Use a VPN if you absolutely must transact on a public wireless network. Virtual private networks stop people from seeing your activity by encrypting it.
The risk of identity theft and data misuse is very real. You’ll help keep your personal data more private online by using these tips. That’s definitely something to strive for in our digitally connected age.