With the recent technological advancements, the internet is becoming a need more than want. Its features have benefited mankind in so many ways, making everything convenient and be easily achieved with our outstretched hands.
However, amidst all its benefits, we can’t deny the fact that anything good will eventually become a disadvantage in the hands of evil people. That’s why reports of various cyber crimes are now rampant in this internet age. Some of the most common cybercrimes people are usually victimized of include hacking, spamming, phishing, online scam, identity theft, and others.
To prevent experiencing these things, here are some precautionary methods you should practice to protect your data online:
1. Make sure your device software is updated
Only a few people realize how important it is to update their device software. It’s easier for most of us to skip it as it takes a few moments of our time and will take most of our storage space – which seems to be unnecessary. Unfortunately, this mistake will make you susceptible to hackers and make your data, identity, and money at risk.
Many of the harmful malware attacks take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the common applications used on your devices, like the operating system and browsers. That’s why if your device tells you to update, never hesitate to do so.
Software updates are necessary as they often patch security loopholes and improve software stability. In addition to that, updates also provide new or enhanced features, as well as better compatibility with other devices or applications.
The updated software also aims to improve your overall user experience.
2. Use strong passwords
Speaking of stronger user protection, passwords should be on your first line of defense. That’s why most apps or websites suggest strong passwords – with a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters – which would make it hard to predict for unauthorized users.
According to the University of Ottawa, in order to keep your information safe and secure, you should follow these steps:
- Use unique passwords;
- Your password should be at least 8 characters or longer;
- Never use your personal information;
- Avoid consecutive keyboard combinations;
- Always sign off; and among others.
As said, the stronger the password, the harder it is for hackers to access your account and the more protected your computer from malicious malware.
3. Avoid using public WiFi
Despite being generally convenient and beneficial, the use of public wifi can also pose risks to your data.
So what makes free WiFi hotspots your weak spot? They let your guards down. One of the critical disadvantages of using public WiFi is that they don’t require authentication in establishing a network.
That gives higher chances for the hackers to position themselves between you and the connection points and spread malware on your device or accounts. It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t allow file sharing across a network while using public WiFi as it also opens some doors for hackers to infect your software.
In fact, it’s actually one of the reasons why casinos block mobile phones inside the premises – to keep high levels of security, protect players’ privacy, and others.
Meanwhile, if using public WiFi is unavoidable for you, at least use a Virtual Public Network (VPN). VPNs are very useful to block hackers from securing a connection with you and your device. That’s because even if the hackers will be able to manage to position themselves amid your connection, your data will be strongly encrypted. Most hackers prefer easy targets and they’d rather discard stealing information than waste their time and figuring out a lengthy decryption process.
4. Encrypt your data
Another significant way to protect your data is to encrypt them. Data encryption is important because it protects sensitive data, your private information, as well as enhances the security of communications between servers and client apps. Essentially, encrypting your data will make it harder to read if unauthorized people will be able to access it.
How does it work? Encryption is made to scramble your data so nobody can understand whatever it says if they don’t have the key. It’s not only important to protect the information on your computer/device, but also in ensuring that your text messages and emails are free from prying eyes.
5. Backup your data
One of the unfortunate results of being attacked by malware is that your data may also be destroyed. That’s why to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should back up your data before losing them all. That way, it would be easier for you to quickly recover your files, such as multimedia, documents, accounts, and other data.
You can backup your data through online cloud or dropboxes, external hard drives, or both.
With almost everything being practiced online, protecting your data should be your top priority, especially the ones that are important. Practicing the measures above won’t hurt you but will instead level up your protection.