How to keep your private data safe and secure online?
While businesses and organizations have a huge responsibility of protecting their clients’, partners’, employees’ and their own information and data, it is equally critical for individuals to keep their sensitive, personal information safe. From securing passwords to financial information to protecting computers and/ or Mobile devices from malicious hackers, a lot needs to be taken care of by all of us today. Interestingly, the bigger concern is the expanse of information around the same, so much so, that it has become almost impossible to use this information to one’s advantage.
So we thought of compiling some tips for you, that should come in handy to help keep your personal information guarded and avoid any nasty online surprises:
- Keep your Personal Information secure online:
- Keep your Passwords Private: Don’t share your passwords or give out personal information on the phone over a message or through an email, unless you are confident of the recipient. It may be a good idea to contact a company through their customer service and check if they really sent a request seeking your information.
- Safe Disposal of Devices and information they may have: While disposing a computer, do get rid of all the personal information it stores. It should be furthermore helpful to use a wipe utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive. Before you dispose off a mobile device, make sure to delete information permanently, and transfer the same to a new device. Remove the memory, SIM card from a mobile phone, and also clear the phonebook, call log, voicemails, messages, browser history, photos, etc.
- Keep GOOD Passwords: Your passwords should be unique and complex with a combination of lower and upper-case letters, numbers and symbols. It is recommended you don’t use the same password across your various accounts. Don’t choose one that can be easily guessed and do remember to change it often. Try using two-factor or strong authentication that combines something you know (username and password) with something you have (a credential such as a card, token or mobile phone) to verify an identity or verify a transaction.
- Be Cautious on how much you share on Social Media: Posting too much information about yourself/ your whereabouts can help someone keep track of your life and enable him to use the same to answer the ‘challenge’ questions on your accounts, get access to your money and/or personal information. Ideally, you should limit access to your networking page to a closed set of people. As a thumb rule, avoid posting your address, phone number, or account numbers on publicly accessible sites
- Think before clicking on links or attachments you know (too well) or don’t at all – Cybercriminals often trick you into clicking on links from your banks, telecom operator, utilities (like gas), and other legitimate organisations. Think before you click on any of them!! Spelling errors, email addresses that differ a little from known ones, and out-of-the blue communications from friends, should be checked for. You may, in fact, call the organization or open the URL and log into your account to verify any communications before clicking. At the same time, don’t open files, click on links, or download programs sent by absolute strangers. This could expose your system to a computer virus or spyware that captures your passwords or other information.
- Backup Your Data – Backing up your data is one of the most basic, conservative, yet effective data protection practice. The creation of a duplicate copy of your data is required so that if a device is lost, stolen, or compromised, you don’t also lose your important information. Also, it is better to create a backup on a different device, like an external hard drive, so that the data recovery is easier. Cloud storage, where data is kept offsite by a provider, is a guarantee of adequate disaster recovery.
- Have a robust and updated Anti-malware – Malware or malicious software is a software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer. It includes computer viruses, worms, spyware, scareware and more. It can be present on websites and emails, or hidden in downloadable files, photos, videos, freeware or shareware. With online threats becoming increasingly more sophisticated and cybercriminals willing to jump on any social trend to spread malware, the data security landscape is changing drastically by the minute. Anti-malware protection or Security software from a recognised name is the best and safest option when it comes to stopping malware from installing on your PC.
- Keep all software on your PC up-to-date with the latest updates and patches – by keeping your software up-to-date, potential risks can be thwarted and cyber-attacks kept at bay. To ensure that you are downloading the latest security updates from operating systems and other software, enable automatic updates. Many software programs will automatically connect and update to safeguard against known risks.
- Install operating system updates. – Operating system updates contain critical security patches that will protect your computer from recently discovered threats. Any and every OS should be updated regularly. Windows operating systems are typically updated at least monthly. Other operating systems may not be updated quite as frequently or on a regular schedule, so it is a better practice to set your operating system to update automatically.
- Secure your wireless network at your home or business/ Be Wise About WiFi – A valuable tip for both businesses and individuals is to secure your wireless network with a password. This prevents unauthorized individuals within proximity to hijack your wireless network. Even if they just want free Wi-Fi access, you don’t want to share private information with other people who are using your network without permission. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, you can set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name. Also, protect access to the router by a Password.
- Turn off your computer. – Last but not the least, when you have finished working on your computer/ laptop, Power it off. Leaving computing devices on, especially when connected to the Internet, increases the chances of attacks, giving scammers access to install malware and commit cyber-crimes.