The truth is that it’s no longer enough to keep your physical well-being safe. As the rise of digital technology continues to influence various industries, your digital security will continue to become just as important. In the digital world, you have to worry about hackers, viruses, and other cybercriminals. As such, it is a must that you understand how important it is to protect your data.
In the last decade, there have been many data breaches made on major companies such as Yahoo, Hyatt Hotels, and many others. These breaches have resulted in billions of private data stolen collectively. For the customers of these companies, this meant that data such as their bank account numbers, addresses, and ID information have been leaked.
For the companies themselves, it was a major PR nightmare on their part. Of course, it also costs them billions of dollars to recover from the breaches. Due to these recent breaches, companies have become more careful with regards to safeguarding their customer’s data.
As a private individual, you should work hard to ensure that your data and personal information is safe online. It’s actually easy to keep safe online as there are many steps you can take to ensure that hackers can’t get to you. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself online.
Use Firewalls And Anti-Virus Software
The basics of any digital protection scheme will always boil down to protecting yourself by way of using firewalls and anti-virus software. These might provide the bare protection you need online but these already protect you from various threats that you come across online. It’s also worth noting that the developers of such solutions are quick to release updates that patch out any security flaws.
These solutions are also available for both desktop and mobile devices. Yes, you need to have these installed on your smartphone as well. In fact, you need to have this installed ASAP as hackers know that mobile users are much more active as compared to desktop users.
Protect Your Devices
A common cause for hacks and data breaches is people’s inability to take care of their smartphones, laptops, and other devices. After all, all of your data is stored in these devices. Once you lose them, you are already putting yourself at great risk. As such, it’s important that you protect your devices at all times.
When traveling, make sure that your devices are always with you at all times. At hotels, you need to remember to place your device at the hotel room’s safe. The last thing you’d want is misplacing a laptop or a computer wherein all of your accounts are logged in.
Limit Connection To Public Networks
Hackers can easily steal your data without you knowing it. One of the ways they can do this is by simply getting to you as you connect to a public network. Public networks may give you free Wi-Fi connectivity but keep in mind that these are also insecure and are a hotspot for hackers to get to you.
Public networks are usually available in populated areas like malls, parks, and even stores. Hackers know that these are frequented by people so expect that they are prepared to attack once you log in to the network. If it really can’t be helped that you stay online, then there are ways to do so without having to risk your privacy.
The best way you can protect yourself in public is by using your own Wi-Fi. Invest in a pocket Wi-Fi device that allows you to connect to a network that has better parameters and security measures as compared to a public connection. Aside from the device itself, you also have to avail of a data plan to stay connected. It’s all worth it however as it prevents you from risking yourself with public networks.
Use A VPN
A VPN or a virtual private network is one of the best things you can invest in to stay safe online. Simply put, a VPN helps you connect to a network anonymously by creating a tunnel that masks your location and IP. Simply put, VPN serves as a means to keep your browsing activity safe from hackers.
Most of today’s top VPNs are paid through a subscription service but they are well worth it if you consider how effective they are. Some of them have great features such as letting you hide under dedicated IPs, so here’s a list of VPNs with dedicated IP addresses to check out. This feature adds an even deeper layer of protection on your end. It’s worth noting that while VPNs are effective at keeping hackers at bay, you still have to protect yourself in other ways. For instance, you should avoid falling for phishing websites as these prompt you to input your personal data. Even with a VPN, your data can be stolen with this method as you put the details in manually.
It’s also worth noting that when using a VPN, your connection speed might drop significantly. As such, it’s a must that you are connected to a strong network, to begin with. Even if the speed drops, it’s a minor sacrifice just so that you can protect your privacy online so it’s well worth it.
Familiarize Yourself With The Latest Scams
One of the best ways you can protect yourself online is by simply becoming more vigilant. You do this by familiarizing yourself with the latest trends when it comes to hacking. Basically, put yourself in the shoes of hackers so that you know how they attack. In doing so, you become better at protecting yourself online.
Aside from knowing their latest techniques, it’s also a must to understand the latest forms of scams online. Phishing scams are one of the leading causes of data breaches. Hackers know that people are already familiar with how these things work. As such, they try to create phishing scams that look like authentic websites.
Hackers now guise their phishing methods under authentic-looking websites. It’s now harder to differentiate a phishing website from an actual form made by a company. If you are unsure about a certain form you are answering, look towards the URL and check if it’s really the one used by the company you are dealing with.
Always remember that there can be no duplicates when it comes to URLs to hackers are forced to alter the address in some way when using a phishing website. It’s also important to avoid clicking just about any link you see online. Certain anti-virus software will immediately tell you if a website is safe or not.
Limit What You Post Online
Being proud of your achievements and latest travels online isn’t wrong but there should always be a limit as to what you let others see. For starters, try to avoid posting about where you are or where you are going. This puts you at risk both digitally and physically. It’s better to post about your trip once you arrive instead of during or before it.
Regularly Change Passwords
Most of the time, people tend to stick with one password for months or even years! Worst case scenario, the password they use across all of their accounts online is the same. This is a bad practice of course as it would make it easier for hackers to get to your personal data. When it comes to changing passwords, you should consider doing it every month or so.
When it comes to passwords, the first thing you should avoid is adding special dates like your birthday. If the hacker knows you, these can be used against you. You should instead use words or phrases that only you know. Then make sure to mix in uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols on your password.
If you don’t want to forget your password, create a physical list of it on a piece of paper and keep it somewhere safe. Don’t bring it with you as you can misplace it and have others see what your passwords are. Most importantly, make sure that your passwords are different for each of your accounts.
Transact With Authorized Websites
e-Commerce is already very common and that means hackers know where to strike as well. Before you purchase anything online, it’s a must that you thoroughly check it first. Look for reviews and news about the retailer before you even think about sharing your personal details with them.
It’s easy to distinguish legit retailers from hackers posing as one. From the get-go, anti-virus software will tell you if a website is safe or not. As a general rule of thumb, you should only transact with retailers that are already well established.
Digital privacy and security is something that you need to value at all times. Hackers are very aggressive nowadays as your data is worth something on the black market. The good news is that it’s always easy to make sure that you are free from their reigns. As always, browse responsibly and you shouldn’t have any major problems.