Identity theft is one of the most common cybercrimes today. To lessen the risk of getting your data stolen, it’s crucial to protect your private information at all costs, especially when you’re using the internet. Of course, there are various ways of protecting your sensitive data.
The most sensible thing to do is to make sure that you know who you share your personal information online. To learn more on this topic, read this article on how to protect your sensitive personal data online.
Think Before Sharing Anything Online
Think of the internet as the Wild Wild West. Once you bring in something to it, you increase the risk of getting it robbed. When you share something online, a lot of people can see it. That’s why you should think twice before you share any sensitive piece of personal data on the internet.
It’s risky to post pieces of information, such as your phone number, address, employment history, names of your family members or relatives, birth date, debit/credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.
If you have to share such sensitive information online, make sure that the person, agency, or website is legitimate and secure. Don’t just give it away to anyone anywhere.
Don’t Open Emails from Unknown Sources
Be extra cautious when opening unsolicited emails from anonymous persons or organizations. They may contain attachments or links that are actually malicious software or malware. If your device gets infected with malware, your data may get lost or stolen by the maker of that malware.
Moreover, some hackers disguised as someone from your bank and send you emails that require you to put your personal or banking information. Be wary of emails that use links that direct you to a site or give you a telephone or cellphone number to call. These are probably email scams that trick victims into giving their sensitive data.
Nowadays, anyone who has computer skills and IT knowledge can create a website or an email that looks legit. You need to keep in mind that banks and financial institutions will never ask you to share your personal or financial information online.
So, it will be safer to not respond to suspicious emails and always verify whenever you receive one if it’s indeed from your bank. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Use Data Encryption Software
Ensure that all the transactions you do online are secure by having software that encrypts sensitive data you send over the internet. Also, your browser should display a lock icon on the status bar telling you that your data is safe when it’s sent online. Remember to check for this icon before you transmit any piece of personal data on an online platform.
You can also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure that your online activities are protected from the prying eyes of cybercriminals.
Beware of Public Wi-Fi
As far as possible, avoid using public Wi-Fi. If you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network in a hotel, airport, library, coffee shop, or any public spot, you should see to it that your data will be protected. In such a case, use a VPN when you want to connect to a public Wi-Fi.
A Virtual Private Network will serve as a bulletproof vest against cybercriminal activities, especially when you’re using a public wireless network to connect to the internet.
Moreover, you can use your mobile data if ever you need to go online instead of using an unsecured Wi-Fi network in a coffee shop. Have a mobile reload so that you’ll have sufficient mobile data for that purpose.
Install Antivirus Software
Get your device or online activities protected by installing antivirus software or a firewall. Such software helps detect and prevent your computer or smartphone from getting infected by malware or spyware. In this way, your personal information won’t get into the hands of hackers.
You can also consider getting cyber-insurance to keep you safe if ever you fall prey to cybercriminals or get victimized by a cyberattack.
Use Strong Passwords
You should use passwords that can’t easily be cracked or guessed by hackers. When creating passwords combine lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using your birth date or any of your personal details as passwords. Also, use a password manager to store and manage your passwords.
Backup Your Data
If your device gets infected by malware or spyware and your data is lost or stolen, it’s difficult to obtain your data back.
So if you use your device to connect to the internet, make sure that you have a backup. In this way, you will still have your data after it’s lost or stolen from that particular device.
You should protect your personal information when you’re using the internet. Cybercriminals nowadays are getting more sophisticated in their evil deeds. So, you should make sure that you have additional protection against them. Follow the tips on this list if you want to avoid getting victimized by cybercriminals.