How to protect your information online
As technology advances, more of our personal information is being stored online. This can include everything from our addresses and phone numbers to our bank account details. While this makes life easier in some ways, it also leaves us open to attack if our information falls into the wrong hands. Here, we will give you some simple ways to protect your information online, so that you can enjoy the benefits of the digital age without worrying about who might be able to see your data.
Know About Online Scams
For most people, the largest threat to their security online comes from scammers. Unfortunately, there are many different online scams in operation right now, designed to trick people out of their money or confidential information. The best way to protect yourself against these dangers is simply awareness. By being aware of these scams, you can recognize when you are being targeted and certify that your info does not fall into the wrong hands. Some common types of scams include social engineering scams, in which criminals trick you into giving them sensitive data through well-disguised emails, trap websites, where thieves set up fake sites hoping that customers will enter their bank account details on it, and malware downloads, in which hackers infect your computer with viruses or other programs that monitor your browsing activity or steal your data.
Although these malicious individuals are always finding new ways of tricking people out of their money or information, they can often be easily recognized simply by being aware of the methods that they commonly use. If you are aware that phishing emails are commonly used to steal bank account details, for example, then you won’t fall prey to one if you spot it in your inbox!
Keep Your Personal Details Private
Another common way that criminals are able to access your personal information is through hacking. This doesn’t just include government agencies or big businesses like Google or Amazon either – many of us store our personal information on Facebook or Twitter without really considering who might be able to access it. It is vital that whenever you post information online, you do not make it available to everyone and think about who might be able to see your data before you upload anything at all!
Take Care of Your Phone
Our smartphones contain a gigantic amount of personal information, from photos and text messages to GPS records which can show everywhere we have been over the course of our lives! This makes them very attractive targets for criminals, especially if they believe that we will carry our phones with us wherever we go. While there’s not much we can do about this in public places, there are some things we can do when in our homes:
- Don’t leave your smartphone lying around on tables or worktops where your dinner guests could pick it up and start scrolling through your photos.
- If you’re aroundpeople, be aware that someone might try to look over your shoulder as you type in your passcode. If they see what numbers you’ve entered, then they will know how to access your phone if they steal it later on!
- Put a password on the lock screen – this prevents anyone from picking up and using your phone without entering a code first and can also help prevent them from accessing any private data stored on the device itself.
Secure Your Laptop or Desktop Computer
Your laptop or desktop computer stores all of your valuable information such as bank details, photos and contacts. This makes it a likely target for criminals who may wish to access your devices at home, steal them from your workplace or hack into your network when they have been left in public places such as cafes or libraries
There are several ways that you can protect yourself from any form of data theft:
- Put a password on the login screen of your computer . If this isn’t possible due to technical reasons, make sure that you disable automatic login so that anyone who picks up and uses the device will need to enter a password before they can get access to anything.
- Make sure that no essential private data is stored on the desktop itself –and make sure that you are using the latest virus protection on your desktop before you connect to any networks.
- Keep your software up-to-date – whenever Microsoft release new updates, install them as soon as possible to make sure that hackers can’t find loopholes or back doors in the operating system.
Protect Your Internet Activity
Many of us use public wi-fi connections every day without giving it a second thought – this is generally safe because wireless networks require us to enter a password before we can gain access. However, if you’re not careful with your login details, then anyone who wants to do so will be able to see everything you do online! We’ve learned how phishing emails can trick people out of their passwords, but this isn’t the only way cybercriminals can take your details. They can also use keyloggers or other software to monitor everything you type and access any sensitive information stored on your computer.
- Always check web addresses before you enter your login details – a well-known bank may have a similar web address to a fake website designed by hackers to look exactly like the real one!
- If possible, wait for a few seconds after you click a link to make sure it’s safe. Many phishing scams send emails containing links that appear safe but actually redirect users to different websites once they are opened. If the link doesn’t work immediately, it means that someone is already accessing your data from another location, and there’s no point in continuing to wait.
Protecting your information online
There are many ways that hackers can get access to the private data stored on our computers and smartphones, but by following a few simple steps, we can make sure that they won’t:
- Only use secure websites when you’re entering login details or making payments online. The address bar of the web browser should start with ‘https://’ and include a padlock icon at the beginning of the URL. If you see either of these features missing, it means that any information you submit could be visible to everyone who is using the network at the time.
- Never leave your phone or laptop unattended when logging into social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter – anyone could take a quick look at your login details or any other private data that’s visible on the screen.
- Check that the wi-fi settings on your mobile device are set to ‘ask’ before connecting to any network. It may be safer not to connect to public networks at all but if you’re using them, make sure you have this security feature activated.
By following the simple steps above, you’ll be able to keep yourself protected online and make sure that your information is safe from prying eyes. Just remember, always be vigilant!