Simple Steps to Protect Your Online Data

Privacy has been a central point for concern within the current age of digital technology. From keeping our data within brick-like hardware devices to storing it in the nonphysical and ethereal space known as the “Internet,” the safekeeping of one’s personal data is as widespread and common as the existence of modern technology itself. So it’s safe to say that the prevention of a potential assault on our personal information has become as important an issue as any other.

Our online data, apart from being an everyday feature of our lives, is also very fragile; every time we browse the internet, type, talk, video call, or shop online, our activities are tracked, monitored, and analyzed. The source of this is varied: from big tech companies to the garden variety cyber hacker.

Indeed, because of the inherent value of someone’s personal data, there have been countless instances of criminals stealing personal information through the internet. After all, all one needs is a computer, and the will to commit a cyber crime. Your name, address, purchase details, employment status, financial data and credit card details are privy to such nefarious activities and could potentially be taken and sold to third parties to be used for a variety of (perhaps immoral) purposes.

There exists a notion that certain aspects of privacy should be sacrificed in order to enjoy the benefits of a better-connected online experience. However, one can still engage the online experience while keeping your data secure; in this regards, the best of both worlds is possible. Here are a couple tips to help you safeguard your data more effectively:

  1. Start with Your Phone

Although the experience of browsing on our PCs might be more compatible with the internet, we must not forget that perhaps, our phones hold more personal data than any other gadget that we own, somewhat owing to the fact that people nowadays use it constantly: literally, on an around-the-clock basis. It’s on our phones that we store our contact numbers, addresses, pictures, personal notes, install applications and use social media. Data leaks from our phone can be disastrous. In order to prevent that from happening, here’s a list of what to pay attention to:

  • Use a two-factor authentication method such as finger print and face recognition lock.
  • Never install apps from unknown or non-reputable sources.
  • If you use an iPhone, don’t jailbreak it.
  • Keep your software and apps updated.
  • Manage your app’s permissions and avoid allowing location or GPS, gallery, and contact list tracking.
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and location when you aren’t using them.
  • Install the most reputable anti-virus program on your phone.

Read Also: Penetration Testing: How it can Save Your Business

  1. Use VPN on Public Networks

There are 2 kinds of VPN, those that are free and those that are paid for, the latter of which comes with a variety of much more effective features. Essentially, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network that will encrypt your data, protecting it in the process. This application was made to make your browsing activities anonymous and private, as well as making your IP difficult to track. When you enter an unprotected public Wi-Fi network in, say, a café, library, or an airport, you are prone to serious data theft because web traffic on such networks are easy to intercept. Occasionally, some Wi-Fi networks are even set up by hackers themselves who are “fishing” for their next victim to connect the Wi-Fi that they put out there in the ether.

  1. Use a Private Browser

Many free online browsers come with targeted ads and most of them are censored by the government, resulting in many restricted content and websites. This is under the pretense of protecting users. However, such government related censorship is usually in regards to controlling nudity or other “immoral” material; most of the time, the aim is not to protect the user from real threats, namely, from hackers and malicious viruses. That being said, you are responsible for your own safety and we recommend using anonymous, private browsers such as Tor Browser. Private browsers function by routing your web traffic through the Tor network, masking your location and activities. However, using these browsers may slow down your online experience somewhat.

  1. Use a Password Manager

Passwords are set up to protect us from data theft, yet this is probably the first thing that will get stolen if you ever get hacked into, due to the fact that most IT crimes’ methods are based around chiefly stealing usernames and passwords. This is mainly done through a hacking technique called “Keystroke Logging”, which is a method by which the hacker can remotely record the keys being pressed on another computer. Although this type of technology is not technically illegal as it is occasionally implemented by employers to keep tabs on how their IT infrastructure is being used, many hackers have coopted this technology to record their victim’s password and username information. In regards to this, you may be using the same password for many of your internet accounts; this may be a dangerous practice and not worth the risk, as it only takes one instance of your data credentials being stolen to lead to all of your accounts being hacked into. If you have problems with memorizing all your passwords, try password a management service such as Dashlane.

This service intends to create and store 50 passwords, identification documents, and payment details, also using top-tier security by having a two-factor authentication and password generator. If you use the paid version of Dashlane, you can sync your passwords across many devices and efficiently monitor the occurrence of data leaks.

Read Also: The Code behind the Malware: The Digital DNA of a Computer Virus

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