In a world that’s become heavily digitized, and even more so with the eruption of the pandemic, with most work and shopping shifting to online spaces, it has become increasingly easier for cybercriminals to breach systems and gain access to individuals’ personal and financial information.
Thus, keeping safe online has become imperative to the modern web user.
There are various methods you may use to protect your personal information from being accessed, and this article will explore a few of these ways, which will guide you to the right path.
1. Be Alert To Scams
There are plenty of examples of people being scammed into revealing personal and financial information online. One of the most common methods is phishing emails that come from strangers or, sometimes, people in your contact list.
Emails that seem strange or out of place are best left alone. Don’t click on any link or even reply to them. Report such emails to your service provider to resolve the issue and block the email addresses that sent those to you. In case a suspicious email comes from someone in your contact list, use an alternative means of communication to determine whether they’ve already been hacked.
Never reveal personal or financial information online, unless you’re sure of the people you’re dealing with. Always do due diligence on new companies you interact with online to ensure that they’re the real deal.
In situations where you’re requested to divulge financial information, contact the customer care service of the company to ensure that it’s a valid request on their part.
Remember, your personal information is yours alone to keep. Don’t release it to just anybody, and be wary of the various scams out there
2. Disposal Of Sensitive Information
Many overlook this aspect. Laptops, phones, and tablets are constantly being bought and upgraded. The discarded device often hasn’t been searched to see if any sensitive financial or personal information is still in it.
It’s prudent to delete all sensitive information from a device that you’re no longer planning on using. A secure deletion program would erase all sensitive files and restore the device to factory settings.
In the case of physical mails or documents, invest in a small shredding machine that’ll destroy all information on the document, with no chance of the document being pieced together again.
3. Spruce Up Your Cybersecurity
A rule of thumb is to always have your anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, and anti-spam software installed and up to date. It’s common to disable certain aspects of this software as it hinders you from accessing certain sites that are deemed unsafe but you still wish to search through them. This leaves you open to vicious malware that can get into your device and allow cybercriminals to access your information.
When attempting to secure the safety of your online transactions, make use of encryption software. Encryption software will scramble any data you transfer on the Internet and keep cybercriminals from accessing your information.
There’s an icon that looks like a lock that shows on your browser’s status bar. This signifies that the website you’re currently on is using HTTPS and is a secure space on which to share information.
To make sure your online transactions are safeguarded from any threat, your browser must be secure at all times. This can be done through the use of encryption software to assess any information you transfer through the Internet. Always check for a ‘lock’ icon on your browser’s status bar before sending personal financial information. The lock indicates that the website is using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS, a secure way to communicate over the Internet.
4. Generate Strong Passwords
Using strong passwords can never be emphasized enough, so much so that most websites will alert you when the password you wish to choose is too weak and unacceptable.
Your chosen password needs to be long and unique. Some opt to use passphrases as they’re harder to decipher. Keep the passwords to your various accounts secure.
Make use of a password manager that handles all your login details. It stores your login details and automatically starts working whenever you wish to enter a site where such information is required.
Wherever possible, employ two-factor authentication for further protection. Two-factor authentication is an added layer of security beyond the username and password
5. Avoid Oversharing On Social Media Sites
Identity theft occurs often because people share too much information on their social media profiles. Avoid sharing personal information on your profiles, such as your home address, your phone number, and email address, among others.
The Internet has made life very convenient, making business transactions and online shopping much more convenient. It gives you access to information at speeds unimaginable. But, with this convenience comes the risks to your security. Follow these tips and work your way toward securing your personal and financial information.
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