The Internet has eventually reached a point where it not only contain ill the information on everything you need, but it is also incredibly accessible and easy to use. This puts us at comfort, which is a mistake since the Internet is not all safe. Well, we all have our freedom, but since nobody is available to regulate all the activities that happen online, we need to be very careful about how we use it. This is because internet security statistics are getting worse yearly.
For instance, we have all seen in the recent past Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which personal details of more than 500,000 people were leaked for political purposes without their assent. In addition, we have your garden-variety scammers, viruses, malware, and frauds.
If you are not keen on keeping your personal information and passwords safe, besides using safe communication channels and transaction platforms, the web can become a real minefield.
Here is a list of 9 tips and practices you need to adopt in order to help you secure your data online.
Ensure you back up your data regularly
Carrying out regular data backup is probably the last thing that will cross your mind until you lose your data. Whether your data has been stolen, corrupted, destroyed or erased, the thing is you don’t have your data. So how often should we back up our data? This depends on how much of your data you can afford to lose. It may be monthly or yearly for some, while some may have to back up their daily or hourly. However, should you lose your data, you can still seek help from a reputable data recovery company to help you recover your lost data.
Use Data Encryption
Contrary to popular opinion, data encryption is not an idea that is reserved solely for security experts or mathematicians. Technology has made data encryption accessible for everyone, hence if you mean business about securing your data online, you need to begin using data encryption technology.
For instance, we have a lot of apps and plugins which allow us to encrypt our emails according to the OpenPGP standard. The same applies if we want to secure our files.
Always install Operating System updates
We may all agree that OS updates can be annoying because they seem to be taking away our precious time. However, the reason why you are comfortable using that implausible operating system is that of all the security fixes and patches that are keeping you safe online. Cybercriminals and hackers are always on the look for ways of preying on unsuspecting users. This means that your PC is at high risk every time you ignore an update request.
Install anti-malware software
The most tricky thing about malware is that you can find them in any form or shape. We are not just talking about different types of malware, such as worms, trojans, spyware, and viruses, but also the fact that malware can be hiding in videos, websites, downloadable files, emails, and even some applications.
Secure your Wi-Fi network
The key reason why people secure their wireless connection, whether at home or work, is because they don’t other people to use their bandwidth for free, while this should actually be the last thing they should worry about. Free Wi-Fi connections put you at high risk of someone gaining access to your personal information. Worse off, they may be using your personal information to perform illegal activities online. It is advisable that you hide your wireless network if possible and set a password for your router, especially if your Wi-Fi network is strong, you must be extra vigilant about its security.
Never save your passwords on mobile devices
We normally save passwords on our devices because we appreciate the convenience it gives of not having to provide our login credentials for every single service we request, especially if we use it frequently.
However, if you are logging in via your smartphone, tablet or laptop, it is advisable that you avoid saving your passwords on them since mobile devices are easier to steal or lose. I’m sure you don’t want a situation where someone else is gaining access to your bank account, emails or even your social media accounts.
Use Strong Passwords
It is crucial that you set up a unique and strong password for each online account you have. Do not be lazy and decide to use one password for your multiple accounts, because once the hackers and identity thieves get hold of your password, they will be able to gain access all your accounts without scratching their heads. To make matters easier, there are quite a number of password managers that can help you generate passwords, such as 1Password or LastPass.
Turn on Device-Wiping and remote location apps
Once you lose one of your mobile devices, your data becomes available to whoever has the device at hand. However, you can minimize the damage by installing a mobile tracking app that will enable you to know the exact location of your mobile device.
Also, most of these apps will allow you to wipe all your data from your lost mobile device, to reduce the exposure.
Delete old accounts that are not in use
Old accounts may expose you to online attacks, even without logging into them for some time. Therefore, it is advisable that you shut them down and possibly delete them completely if they are not in use. Remember some services, such a Yahoo and Microsoft allow new applicants to register for email accounts using your old email usernames. This may expose you especially if your old email account is connected to other services you are using currently because the new user can access your account, change the password and completely lock you out.
These nine tips, accompanied by a healthy dose of common sense, is enough to keep your activities online safe. However, this does not imply that you should not think of additional means of keeping your data online secure.