We all care about the safety of our physical assets like vehicles and homes but we often forget about the protection of our personal information. It’s common for us to deny random people when they ask us for our contact number in person. However, we often give it away in a hurry when it’s requested by an application or a website. Even though using the internet for hours has become a part of our lifestyle, we must make sure that we don’t end up handing over our data to a cybercriminal or an untrusted source.
We provide several websites and apps with our personal information without even thinking about the consequences of privacy and security breaches. However, with the rising number of incidents of fraud associated with a data breach, we need to make sure that our data is safe and protected. So to understand how you can prevent any infringement on your privacy, we’ll be discussing some of the most effective ways of protecting your data. These will keep you safe from any potential threats posed by any shady website or app.
1. Hide Your Details
Whether it’s a person right in front of you or a website that asks you to fill out a form about yourself, you should never give away your personal information wantonly. The methods of extracting your data can take various forms. It may be in the form of a survey at a retail shop or a phishing email which they can later use to conduct fraudulent activities in your name. All you need to do is ensure that you don’t give away any personal data that has the potential to be misused or utilized against you. Many credit monitoring companies say that the leading cause of frauds is carelessness on the part of the victims. Usually, we easily give it away just because we’re in a hurry, but this is the exact information that a cybercriminal needs to harm you.
If you think that your social media profile must display all the information associated with you, you’re falling into a trap. While these platforms keep us connected with our close ones and update them about our accomplishments, there is always a possibility that the data we display on our profiles can be misused. Whether it’s our birthdate, residential address, or email address, we often keep it all on display on our profiles. However, you must remove these if you care about your privacy even the tiniest bit.
2. Safeguard Your Devices
Almost all of our data is stored on mobile phones or laptops these days. This means misplacing them can result in data loss and possible misuse of information. So you should make sure that even if your device gets stolen, it’s locked so that a person with malicious intent can’t access it as easily. This added layer of protection will safeguard your personal information from being misused easily.
Another important thing to do is turn your computer off after you’re done using it. It’s common for criminals to try and access your devices while you aren’t using them.
Furthermore, find yourself a reliable ID monitoring service to act as a watchdog for you and all your private information that is important to your identity. If you want to keep your data safe from identity thieves, you should make sure that no one can access it physically or electronically. Make sure that you do your homework and look at reviews to find out which services are the best out there. Since our devices contain a lot of our data, our identity can easily be duplicated if someone gains access to it.
3. Browse Securely
Whenever you browse the internet and allow access to the website cookies, anybody with physical access to the computer can find out about your browsing history. Therefore, it’s best to use a private browser or an incognito window that doesn’t store these cookies. This means that all of the cookies will be deleted once your session is completed and the temporary internet files will be erased as well. Further, whatever you browse will not appear in history after closing the window either.
Each company that has online advertisements is eager to know about your interests, friends on social media, and the websites that you visit. By accessing the information regarding your online activities, they show you ads that are specifically targeted towards you. If you’re wondering how these websites know about your activity, it’s through the various cookies and websites you visit.
Other than private browsing, you must also make sure that you’re browsing securely. To check if a website is secure, you can look for a lock symbol located towards the left of the URL. Another way to confirm this is by checking if the website has HTTPS at the beginning of its URL, if it does then it’s a secure website. In this way, you can make sure that you’re providing your personal information to a secure website.
4. Be One Step Ahead
If you want to be entirely sure that your data remains protected and that nobody can break through your passwords, you’ll have to stay one step ahead of all the unscrupulous elements. The first step is to designate a unique and strong password for every account by adding upper and lower case letters in combination with numbers and symbols. Also, make sure that they don’t have to do anything with your publicly available information like your birthdate or pet name. It’s recommended to use passphrases instead of passwords since they’re more difficult to be hacked.
Additionally, you can have experts ready just in case your data is compromised. This will serve as insurance should the data fall into wrong hands, however, you’ll have to be careful that you choose the right company to help you out. Another way to stay a step ahead is by answering the security question wrong so that if somebody has all the required information about you, they still won’t be able to guess the right answer. So the key here is to be clever while setting an answer to the question. You can also use a password manager tool to remember these answers for different accounts as it’ll make your life infinitely easier.
In the digital era, it has become easy to gain access to anybody’s personal information. Whether it’s through a person’s browsing history, physical access, or social media, gathering information is very simple for anyone who puts in any amount of effort. Since several criminals are willing to acquire the data of naive users, we must remain cautious when sharing our personal information. While identity theft can’t be entirely prevented, there are various ways of preventing it. In this article, we discussed some of the key measures that you can take to prevent your personal information from being stolen. These will not only help you in making sure your personal life stays private but also that your data isn’t misused.
About the Author
Geoffrey Boyd is passionate about all emerging technologies in the IT world and loves to write about all of them. He has extensive experience in web technologies, SEO, online marketing, and cybersecurity.