Nowadays, everyone needs to make sure that they are taking steps to protect their data. Even if you are not actively sending files and data to people over the internet, you need to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to ensure that that which needs to be protected does have that layer of security. Here are some of the simple steps everyone should be taking to protect their data.
You need to make sure that you have some form of anti-virus protection on your computer. This is vital for ensuring that you are not going to pick up anything while browsing. Even safe and secure sites can have something hidden in its code thanks to hackers and other malicious parties. If you are one for browsing and visiting lots of different sites online, an anti-virus will help to keep your machine safe.
Of course, having the anti-virus often isn’t enough. You also need to make sure that you are running regular scans to ensure that there is nothing hidden in the depths of your machine. Taking an active role in the health of your machine like this means that you will be certain that there is nothing that could affect your device.
Do you use a simple password? You would be shocked at the number of people who use “password” or a simple code like their birthday to protect their accounts and devices. This is not a safe practice and can really make your device vulnerable to attack and theft from outside sources.
The other major mistake that people make is using the same password across multiple accounts. All it then takes is for the password to get leaked in one place, and then the person with the password has access to multiple sources of your data.
Try to create strong, unique passwords for every account that you have. You need to make sure that you make your passwords as complex as possible. Use them wherever you can, you can even password protect a zip file if there is data or files inside that you want to keep safe. The more obstacles you can put in place, the better. You can keep track of your passwords using a password manager, or even a notebook if you want to keep things offline.
Nowadays, many people want to protect their browsing habits alongside their data. However, it can be difficult to do so. There is no denying that search engines and browsers collect a lot of data about us. If you want to avoid being followed around the internet, you should think about getting a virtual private network, or a VPN.
A VPN disguises your IP address by connecting to a server elsewhere. You can choose one that is another part of your country, or you could choose an international one. In addition to the data protection that can come from this, many people like to use VPNs as it means that they can get around geofencing restrictions. Some companies try to block visitors from certain countries, or direct them to their home nation site instead of the international one they want to access. A VPN can help someone get around these controls.
Know how to spot scams
Scammers are very clever nowadays. You might think that an email or a website might look legit, only for them to hide something a lot more sinister. All it takes is a misclick on your part, and you might have an infected device. You need to make sure that you know how to spot a website or an email that might contain something that could cause harm to your computer.
These are little things that you have to learn. Always check the security of a site before inputting card details, and try to remember to look out for weird details like a dodgy email address or something out of place like this. If in doubt, don’t input your details into the site, and don’t click a link unless you fully trust it. If you receive a suspicious email from a friend or co-worker, make sure you bring it to their attention as their accounts might have become compromised without you realising.
In this age of online retail, you need to make sure that you are paying for goods safely. While many sites claim to have encryption in place to protect financial data, one can never be too careful. Some big companies have experienced leaks over the years, and this has resulted in many people’s personal and financial information being traded online.
If you have the option to use a third-party app like PayPal, you should always try to use it. PayPal is one of the best options as they put a lot of work into ensuring that the sites and companies that they work with are not fraudulent. If a business offers PayPal as a payment option, it is usually more trustworthy than most. Should you run into a problem and you think that a company has taken your money unfairly, you can also lodge a claim with PayPal themselves and they will work to help get your money back.
Trust your gut
When trying to protect your data online, the best thing you can often do is trust your instincts. If you think a site is slightly off in some way, that might be all that you need to avoid it. Likewise, if you take the time to put the right protections in place from the beginning, you should be able to avoid many of the pitfalls that others might face.
The importance of the basics cannot be stressed enough. From anti-virus protection to choosing the right passwords, you will be able to cover a lot of ground simply by sticking to these basic methods. Take the steps needed to protect your data now – it could make a significant difference to the ways in which you choose to browse online.