Keeping personal information safe from online hackers is a universal concern. Virtually half the world’s population have an online presence and, of course, private information is being stored in online platforms. So online security is very pertinent today. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to protect your personal information online and stay secure. Here are six of them:
1. Use Unpredictable Passwords
Your password is your gatekeeper and the ultimate security guard to your online information. If you use weak, predictable passwords, you will leave your online information to the mercy of intruders and cybercriminals.
To make your password complex and unpredictable, you need to include letters, numbers, signs, and symbols. With letters, make them a blend of upper and lowercase. No matter where you use a password—your email, social media accounts, private home network, or personal computer— make every password complex and give hackers a hard nut to crack.
2. Always Remember To Back Up Your Data
Even with a security software running on your personal computer, it is still vulnerable to a dangerous attack by malware and ransomware. So back up all your data as often as you can (whether you back up every week or month, don’t throw all your data into just one basket). If a hacker or malware strikes without warning, you will need your backed up files.
3. Turn On Your Browser’s “Incognito Mode”
This is called private browsing. When your browser is set on incognito mode, your browsing history is wiped as soon as you’re done. This includes your cookies and bookmarks. Sometimes you might be careless and leave your computer awake while you go to sleep and someone could start poking into the sites you've visited. Some of these sites contain very confidential data about you. In addition, companies running online advertisements are on regular surveillance, keeping track of all the sites you visit, your social networks and more, so they can serve you ads you didn’t ask for.
You can also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to surf the web. A VPN helps you surf the web in a ghost-like mode without being detected.
4. Stop Clicking On Random Links
It’s common to find links and attachments pop up every now and then when surfing the net. Some of them are legitimate ads while some are baits set by hackers and cyber fraudsters.
If you fall into the trap of clicking, others might gain access to your private information. Always be careful, in fact be paranoid, about clicking! Check the URL of sites on Google and find out about them. Be suspicious, check for errors, scrutinize properly, don’t just click because links are enticing.
Better yet, just avoid them entirely.
5. Always Be on the Look Out For Unsecured Sites
Every link to a website or the website itself comes with either the prefix “Http” or “Https.” The “s” at the end of the “Http” stands for secure, meaning the site is safe for any financial transactions.
You can afford to overlook this if you are just surfing the web, but you can’t afford to ignore this prefix if you are on a site that asks you to make payments using your credit card details. It’s highly risky. You can always click on the VeriSign to check if the site’s identity is genuine.
6. Update Your Passwords
Changing passwords often reduces the risk of your private information being tampered with by cybercriminals. This might be tedious, but don’t choose convenience at the expense of your security.
If you’ve been careless about the way you’ve been divulging your personal details online and on social media, changing your passwords is the best way to stay secure. This is why Google always recommends that you change your password when you suspect any suspicious activity is going on in your account.
Your private information online is always vulnerable to attack. It is time you get involved with the security measures available to protect your personal data. These tips will provide you with a head start and help you stay secure.
Annabelle Carter Short is a mother, blogger and a lifelong techy. Writing about healthier lifestyles, safety online as well as about her various hobbies she strives to bring awareness to all the topics that can help others.