By Jake Lester
The Internet is surely a wonderful invention that makes our life so much easier. But the more we use it, the more we need to think about how to protect our personal data from hackers and other types of cybercriminals.
Nowadays, it would be virtually impossible to imagine life without the Internet. We are doing a bunch of things there, from watching movies and playing games to chatting with friends, shopping, making business arrangements and so on. With life getting continuously busier, it is, of course, way simpler to finish online all the necessary tasks.
Besides the numerous advantages of the Internet, there are downsides too, and this is what we will discuss. Maybe you never gave it too much thought, but the biggest problem on the Internet is safety. Because cyberspace is open and accessible to the huge number of people worldwide, there is a possibility that our personal data gets stolen and misused. In this article, we will talk about some ways of protecting our private information.
Some people never think about safety or security on the Internet and leave personal info everywhere without any worry. They usually believe that it is perfectly safe and that all the stories about internet risks are just some kind of conspiracy theories. And even if things, like identity theft, occur, that happens only to rich people. On the other hand, some believe that you can never be too cautious about using online services. They avoid even making travel arrangements online or buying tickets unless it is not possible otherwise.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. It can be perfectly okay to leave your information when you are sending money online, but you need to know how you can protect yourself from intruders.
A lot of people, and you might be too, are a bit confused about what does data means. Let’s look together at a personal information definition. According to EU legislation, the term ‘personal data’ is the introduction to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation applies only to the processing of personal data. Under the concept of personal data is all the information related to a human being that can identify him/her.
Before we go on, we would like to introduce you to another definition, and that is objective data definition. So, as you might imagine by now, all this info can be divided into subjective and objective data. The first one is the information that comes directly from the person, and the other one is collected through observation or examination. A good example is a piece of information gathered through the medical check-up of the patient.
Now, as we clarified terminology, let’s see what we can do to protect our sensitive personal information and how to stay safe using the Internet.
Encrypt Your Data
We believe that this sounds like rocket science for many of you and that you think that it requires special knowledge. However, you can be sure that even if encryption used to be reserved for geeks, this is not the case anymore. Whether you are using a Mac or a
PC, it’s quite simple. Operating systems are using programs like Full Disk Encryption for Windows 10 and File Vault for Mac that scramble data on your computer. This means that only someone with a unique encryption key can access the information stored on your computer.
If you are a responsible user, you can also check the best cpu cooler, as well as many other technical innovations to ensure that your computer is fully equipped and running to your best advantage. Overloaded CPU may be the reason for some apps running in the background. Make sure there are no malicious ones.
Secure Your Social Media Accounts
In case you have accounts on more than one social media, you must use different passwords for each of them. We know that it can be difficult to memorize all these login details. Nevertheless, if you want to be sure that you have done everything to keep personal identifying information secured, this is an essential step. Also, try to change your passwords every few months. You can use a password manager to create hard to break codes.
Protect Yourself on Dating Sites
If you create profiles on dating websites and apps, be sure that you never give your personal protection id to anyone. This is an online verification system that all dating websites require nowadays. It is a vital tool to ensure the safety of all members and avoid them getting scammed by fake users.
Install the Anti-Malware Program on Your Devices
Malware or malicious software is a program, that is designed to access and damage your computer. We know these programs under different names like virus, worm, Trojan horse and so on, and surely each of us has already encountered such a problem. They can be everywhere: from emails to websites and files. The best way to protect your personal data is to install an anti-virus program and scan the system periodically. Also, you should avoid downloading files you are not sure about and visiting suspicious websites.
Protect Your Wi-Fi
It is highly recommended to secure a Wi-Fi network with a password both at your home and at the office. Thus, you can be sure that people who don’t have the right code won’t be able to access your Wi-Fi connection. Someone may just want to use your network without causing any real harm, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Turn off Your Computer
Do you like to fall asleep while listening to your favorite music on YouTube, so your laptop stays on the whole night? Maybe you should think about changing this habit because when you leave your PC on, connected during the night, it becomes the easy target of different scammers.
Lock Your Smartphones
You never know who can get hold of your smartphone. It can slip from your pocket or bag and end up in the hands of a person who can misuse all the personal data found there. If you lock it, that person will need to crack the code before being able to use it.
Bluetooth is extremely convenient as you can share videos, pictures and so on with your friends within minutes. We tend to forget to switch it off, thinking that it doesn’t cause any harm if it stays on, especially because of the permission request that is essential for Bluetooth connectivity. However, regardless of security options, the only way you can prevent scammers from using your personal data is to switch it off.
Protection from Identity Theft
One way you can prevent your personally identifiable information from being stolen is to be mindful of sharing private information. Before giving any info, you need to research thoroughly who is asking and for what purpose.
Also avoid using any personal data, like your social security number, phone number, or anything similar to password or part of it.
Protect Your Bank Account
If you become a victim of identity theft, besides the actual damage, you have to deal with all the frustration of clearing up the mess that was created. The good news is that even if you cannot protect yourself 100%, there are some things you can do to prevent it from happening. Set up a fraud alert on your credit card by contacting a credit bureau or a credit report security freeze by requiring a PIN/ password before someone can access your funds. Another simple thing you can do is to monitor your account activity online.
General Data Protection Regulation
This is the EU data protection regulation that is adopted in 2016, and its implementation began in 2018. It applies to all citizens of the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) and stipulates that everyone has the right to protect their personal data. This law also deals with transferring information from a personal database to countries that are outside the EU and EEA.
We hope that you enjoyed reading the article and found these tips useful. The idea is not to scare but rather to warn you about possible problems you might encounter and how to prevent them and protect your personal data. We feel it is important to point out that we covered only some ways of protection, but there are many others that you can read about. Enjoy surfing the web and keep in mind that prevention is always better than cure. Have you thought before about ways to protect your information while surfing the web?