Last Updated on April 30, 2020 by Husain Parvez
Data security has been a topical issue for debates in recent years as several big tech companies have increasingly come under attack from hackers. With the surge of social networks, the world is now faced with issues of identity theft and cyber-crimes more than ever before. For this reason, it is now more crucial for you to pay attention towards protecting your personal data as a means of providing multi-layers to your online security. Since cyber-criminals continually adapt their ways to new technology, it is important that you use novel methods to protect yourself.
In this article, we have compiled three simple steps that you can take to ensure better protection for your data.
Use Anonymous browsing tools to surf the internet
One of the best ways to protect your data is by maintaining anonymity when surfing the web. This can be achieved through different ways. First, since your browser stores all the pages you visited, it is recommended to delete your browsing history to prevent others from seeing it. Many web browsers have what is called incognito mode, which is an option that does not store your browsing history at all. In fact, it is a good way to stay private online. In addition, to protect your data from search engine crawlers and bots, we recommend that you use private browsers when surfing the web on your PC or mobile devices.
Another way to stay anonymous online is by using software that gives you anonymity when you browse. One unique way is the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A Virtual Private Network is one of the best tools to use if you want to protect your data online since its hides your IP address.
VPN encrypts your data by using a secure tunnel to process your connection, that way hackers and cyber criminals will be unable to access your data. In addition, most premium VPNs have tons of servers located across the world. This can be useful if you travel to a country where information is censored such as China and the Middle East. With the aid of a VPN, you can select servers from anywhere in the world to access geo-locked information.
Many places offer free access to Wi-Fi networks, but as tempting as it may be, be careful with the Wi-Fi network you connect to especially if you don’t know the security measures the provider of the network has put in place. That said, if you decide to connect to a Wi-Fi, always use a VPN since it provides protection from snoops and hackers that could be monitoring the Wi-Fi networks.
If you are puzzled about the right VPN to use we have a comprehensive guide that would help you make a concrete decision.
Use strong Passwords and provide personal data on only trusted sites
We have always been told that it is important to use strong passwords for our different accounts online. You may feel that this is not important but a recent survey revealed that over 80% of online security breaches are due to weak passwords. The more complex your password is, the harder it is for others to guess. Whenever you choose a password, combine uppercase, lowercase, symbols, and numbers.
The best practice is not to use the same password in all your accounts, nor to include birth dates, anniversaries, or phone numbers. Also, do not share your user name and passwords with anyone.
Futhermore, you need to get used to changing the passwords of all your accounts and your home network at least every two months. In fact, if you suspect that one of your passwords has been compromised, change it instantly.
Many websites ask for personal data. Before giving it to them, it is important that you know who they are, what data they need and what they will use it for.
In addition, preferably, make sure that the site that requests for your information has the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol. That is, the address that appears in the browser, starts with HTTPS. This ensures that the data you share to travel over an encrypted channel.
Beware of Phishing Emails and Install a good Antivirus
A good number of internet malwares are sent via emails. Hackers generally send this malicious links and software to random emails. Although most email service providers have a form of screening this messages, some of the messages could still end up in your inbox.
Before you reply to a mail, check the sender’s details and confirm that it is someone or a company you know and trust. Never reply phishing emails because this would confirm to the cyber-criminal that the email they sent a message to is legitimate and this could lead to a series of scams.
Meanwhile, there are some email providers that provide special services geared towards users privacy. One of the popular private email providers is Protonmail. They are known for their quality privacy mail services and you can read about their services. In addition, protect your computer with antivirus programs and firewalls and configure them to update frequently.
Although it may seem heavy, it is important to read all the terms and conditions before installing an application or service. This way, you will know what rights the provider of the application or service will have over your information.
There is no doubt that it is critical for you to protect your data and privacy because your data is the key to your identity. No one should ever have enough information that they can leverage on to impersonate you. Therefore, it is greatly advisable that you put the three steps discussed in this article into practice. Once you do that, you will have less worries about hackers, fraudsters and impersonators.
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