Along with all of its impressive features and capabilities, the Internet also presents a huge security risk. Odds are, you do your banking online, you shop online, and you spend time on social media. With all of this information about you floating around cyberspace, there is good reason to worry about tech-savvy cybercriminals being able to access this information and open a credit line under your name or otherwise exploit your personal info.
Let us help you understand how you can better protect your personal information! Bank account usernames and passwords, your social media accounts, private pictures on your hard drive: these are all things that need to be protected. Let’s go over some ways you can protect your sensitive data:
Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt:
The controversy-clouded Edward Snowden has a few things to say about data security. Whatever your opinion may be about this individual, he may be a hero or a traitor depending on your perspective, it’s undeniable that the man is an expert on this subject. His primary advice is to make sure all the information you send to other sites is encrypted.
This can be done with a simple, free add-on for popular browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and Opera called HTTPS Everywhere. Many major online services default to the unencrypted HTTP for communication with users, but this add-on basically forces the site to use the encrypted HTTPS (the “S” stands for secure) to better protect the user’s sensitive data.
Backup Your Data:
Sometimes the only way to get rid of a pesky piece of malware is to completely restore your computer. If you aren’t sufficiently backing up your data, this last-resort measure could result in erasing many hours of work. There are plenty of cloud storages out there, from Dropbox to Microsoft’s OneDrive, that allow you to store documents online to be retrieved from any computer at any time.
Use Strong Passwords:
This is a practice that actually makes you more secure. So go ahead and throw in a few numbers and special characters into your passwords. It can only help. Also, you should use a different password for every website or service, rather than using the same password over and over again. If you have too many log-ins for this to be reasonable, at least use 3 or 4 passwords for the many websites you subscribe to rather than just one so you can contain the damage if one of your passwords is stolen.
Update Your Software:
Make sure that you have the latest version of all the software you regularly use. Providers are always looking for flaws in their coding that malicious hackers could possibly exploit, and they are constantly releasing patches that fix the flaws they find. If you don’t stay on top of downloading these patches, you run the risk of allowing your programs of being vulnerable to hackers, programs that may contain sensitive information.