Everywhere we turn, we’re being asked to enter our personal information into digital forms. Whether we’re creating an account on a new website, filling out an online application, or purchasing through an online store, we’re constantly inputting sensitive data that scammers could use to steal our identity or commit cybercrime.
With so much of our lives moving online, it’s more important than ever to ensure we’re taking steps to protect our identities and personal information. Here are some tips for staying secure in the digital world:
Public Wi-Fi isn’t for financial transactions:
We’ve all been there- we’re out and about, trying to get some work done on our laptops or purchase through an online store, and we realize we don’t have any data left on our phone plan. So we take the opportunity to hop on a public Wi-Fi network, thinking it will be faster than using our phone’s data connection. However, public Wi-Fi networks are notoriously insecure, and they should never be used for financial transactions or entering sensitive information. Extensions like https://guard.io/ are helpful when accessing public Wi-Fi is an absolute necessity.
If you need to make a purchase or access your bank account while you’re out and about, find a secure network or use your phone’s data connection.
Use official banking applications on your phone:
With the rise of mobile banking, it’s easier than ever to manage our finances on the go. There are a lot of fraudulent banking apps on the market that may steal your personal information. If you’re using mobile banking, make sure you’re using the official app from your bank or credit union.
Keep track of your finances:
One of the best ways to protect your identity is to keep track of your finances. Check your bank and credit card statements regularly to look for suspicious activity and report any fraudulent charges immediately. You should also keep an eye on your credit score- you can get free annual credit reports from all three major credit bureaus.
Avoid leaving tracks:
There are many ways to collect data about our online activity, from the websites we visit to the searches we make. Use a private browsing window when researching or shopping online to protect your privacy. You can also use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your internet traffic, making it more difficult for third parties to track your activity.
Personalize your login:
One of the simplest things you can do to protect your online accounts is to use a strong and unique password for each one. But if you’re like most people, remembering a different password for every site you visit is next to impossible. That’s where password managers come in. They can generate and store strong passwords for all your accounts, so you only have to remember one master password. Many password managers will automatically log you into your accounts, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting your passwords.
Be careful with social media and email passwords:
Social media and email passwords are some of the most commonly used passwords, making them a prime target for hackers. If you use the same password for social media and email as you do for other accounts, a hacker who gets access to your social media or email account could easily get into your other accounts. So it’s essential to use unique, strong passwords for social media and email accounts.
Get rid of old devices that have sensitive information stored on them:
When you get a new computer, smartphone, or tablet, it’s important to dispose of your old devices properly. Make sure you wipe all of the data off your old machines before giving them away, selling them, or trading them in. Otherwise, you could be giving strangers access to your sensitive information.
Use a secure browser extension:
Browser extensions can be a great way to add extra security and privacy features to your web browser. Look for extensions that offer ad blocking, tracker blocking, and password management features.
Educate yourself and those around you about cyber security threats:
The more you know about the dangers of the digital world, the better equipped you are to protect yourself. Stay up-to-date on the latest cyber security news, and share what you’ve learned with your family and friends.
Report any suspicious activity:
If you see something, say something. If you come across a phishing email or a fake website, don’t hesitate to report it to the authorities. You can help protect yourself and others from becoming victims of identity theft by taking action.
Keep your software and devices up to date:
One of the best ways to protect your devices and data is to keep your software up-to-date. Install security updates as soon as they’re available, and make sure you’re using the latest version of your web browser. Keeping your devices up-to-date will help you avoid vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
Beware of clickbait and fake news:
In the age of social media, it’s essential to be aware of the dangers of clickbait and fake news. Be sceptical of headlines that are too good to be true, and don’t hesitate to fact-check before you share.
In a digital world where data can be easily accessed and stolen, it’s more important than ever to take precautions to protect your identity and personal information. By using a variety of security measures, you can make it more difficult for hackers to steal your data. Stay safe online by following these tips!