Being able to do a lot of things online has made many aspects of our lives much easier. We can now shop, pay bills, and even get a degree online. But as the internet continues to help our lives become more convenient, it has also opened the doors for scammers and criminals.
Aside from phishing scams, our online presence can also leave us open to criminal acts such as robberies. Thankfully, there are three easy things you can do to protect your data from getting in the wrong hands.
1. Use a Hard-to-Guess Password
Make sure that passwords for all of your online accounts are unique and are a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. One helpful tip is to think of your password as a pass phrase. This makes it easier to remember while being harder to guess.
Yet if you’re creating a longer password, don’t include your name, age, and most importantly, your date of birth. Passwords with these pieces of information are much easier to guess, especially if you have an active social media presence.
2. Keep Private Information Private
Sometimes, all a cyber criminal needs to know to is the most basic personal information. Meanwhile, a would-be burglar can also get clued in on when you’re out of town and target your house while you’re away, based on a status update.
Thankfully, websites and social media accounts now offer many privacy settings to protect your information. This allows you to control who gets to see your posts, along with information such as your phone number, birthplace, and age. These seemingly mundane facts can be used by identity thieves for their own means.
You also have to stay vigilant whenever you shop online. Don’t blindly trust the Internet with your banking and payment information. Check the URL in case you got redirected to a phishing scam by accident. Use secure payment methods and opt-out of requests to save your personal information for future transactions.
3. Defend Your Devices
A person doesn’t need to physically steal your phone to get your data. There are many types of malware and viruses all over the Internet; certain types are even capable of stealing your data. Because of the dangers that these malicious programs possess, having anti-virus software and apps for all of your devices is a must.
Likewise, do your best to download files and apps only from trusted sources. When installing an application, make sure to read the permissions carefully before proceeding. This lets you avoid apps that may misuse your information.
It’s no surprise that criminals have found a way to take advantage of our internet dependency. So when it comes to protecting your data, the best course of action is to first minimize the risks before anything bad happens.