There’s no denying the grim reality; our personal data has become more vulnerable than ever before.
From online shopping to social media, our lives have become intricately entwined with technology, making it crucial to prioritise the protection of our sensitive information. At the same time, emerging from the shadowy corners of the Internet, cybersecurity threats ranging from identity theft and data breaches to ransomware attacks and phishing attempts, are worryingly on the rise.
If you’re worried about the safety of your sensitive information, never fear. We’ll explore not just one or two, but nine essential tips that you should follow to help you stay safe and secure in the digital realm. Using these tried-and-tested strategies, you will hopefully have a much better chance of safeguarding your personal data and enjoying peace of mind in an increasingly interconnected world.
Create Passwords That Are Both Strong And Unique
When it comes to fending off any attempts at unauthorised access, the first line of defense - as you surely already know by now - is a strong (and one-of-a-kind) password.
It’s important to avoid using common passwords like ‘12345’ or even the word ‘password’, as these will be the work of a minute for hackers to break through. Place your focus on creating complex combinations that include a blend of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and those notorious ‘special characters’.
Do your best to use unique passwords for each online account, as if you use the same password across multiple platforms will put all of your accounts at risk if one is compromised.
To help you keep track of all those complicated passwords, you may want to think about using a password manager. This handy tool will securely store, and even generate, your passcodes for you so you don’t have to remember all those tricky combinations!
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a concept we’ve become increasingly familiar with in recent years, and for good reason, as 2FA (as it’s also known) provides an extra layer of security.
Essentially (as the name suggests), this security method requires users to provide two different forms of identification to access their accounts. Typically, this involves entering a password and then confirming your login using a secondary method, such as providing a verification code that has been sent to your email or to your phone via SMS.
Enable 2FA whenever possible to add an extra safeguard against unauthorised access to your accounts.
Watch Out For Phishing Attempts
Phishing is a common but potentially devastating technique that’s regularly deployed by cybercriminals as a means of trying to trick people into revealing their sensitive information.
Phishing messages can take a variety of forms, including pretending to be a message from someone you love, saying that they’re in need of some money to help them out in a tricky situation.
It’s important to be cautious of any emails, text messages, or phone calls asking you for your personal information, such as passwords or your credit card details. Avoid clicking on any suspicious links, and don’t open attachments from unknown senders.
Take pains to verify the authenticity of the emails and messages you receive by contacting the company or the individual responsible for sending them using official channels.
Keep Your Software And Operating System Updated
Regularly updating your software and your devices’ operating systems is crucial to maintain the highest level of security. Software updates will often contain patches that address any vulnerabilities and security loopholes that could be exploited by hackers.
Enable automatic updates whenever possible; alternatively, make sure you keep an eye out for the latest update and manually upgrade. This advice applies to your operating system, antivirus software, web browsers, and any other applications you happen to use.
Of course, while you’re taking care of your device’s software, it’s also important to remember to take good care of the externals too, by investing in a robust protective case and a sturdy screen protector. If you do encounter any problems with either the hardware or software of your mobile phone or tablet, get it repaired as soon as possible.
Mobile phone repairs and tablet spruce-ups are simple and convenient with the help of Likewize Repair; they will send a skilled technician to your home or preferred location and will usually have your device back in good working order within an hour.
Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks
When you’re away from home and you want to connect to the Internet, be very cautious about the Wi-Fi networks you choose to join. In particular, avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to carry out sensitive activities like online banking or accessing any personal accounts. These networks are usually unsecured, which makes them an easy hunting ground for hackers eager to intercept your data and breach your accounts.
Whenever possible, use a virtual private network (also known as a VPN) to encrypt your Internet connection and give you an extra layer of security.
Be Mindful Of Your Social Media Privacy Settings
Review your social media privacy settings on all of your social media platforms so you can control who can view your posts and access your personal information. It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of personal info you share on social media publicly - and be mindful of what you’re posting.
You should also avoid accepting any friend requests from people you don’t know, and carry out regular audits of your ‘friends’ list to remove any unfamiliar or suspicious-seeming contacts.
Exercise Caution With App Permissions
When it comes to downloading and installing apps on your smartphone or tablet, pay attention to the permissions they request. You should be wary about granting access to your contacts, your location, and any other sensitive information unless it’s absolutely necessary for the app’s functionality and the app comes from a trusted source. Ideally, you should also review your app permissions regularly and revoke access for any apps that you no longer use very often, or that you may harbour any suspicions about for whatever reason.
Frequently Back Up Your Data
Backing up your data is essential in case of hardware failure, or the loss or theft of your device. Fortunately, there are several options available for you to explore. For example, you can use cloud storage services like Dropbox, or external hard drives like a USB or SD card to regularly back up all of your important files, photos, and documents.
Automate this back-up process so it will take place on a regular basis and ensure that your phone or tablet is kept consistently protected. That way, even if your device does get compromised by a sneaky attack, or if it gets damaged in any way, you can easily restore all of your data on a new device. Phew!
Educate Yourself On Cybersecurity Best Practices
Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and that’s especially true when it comes to cybersecurity. As a result, it’s a good idea to keep yourself informed and up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity threats and how you can ward them off. Read up on the latest news reports of data breaches, scams, and emerging trends in online security.
You should also educate yourself on the most commonly used techniques that cybercriminals employ to breach accounts and steal your data, and learn how to identify and avoid potential risks – like those phishing messages described above.
By staying informed and aware – not to mention vigilant – you can make informed decisions about protecting your device, and the invaluable personal data it contains.
Protecting your sensitive information is essential in today’s complicated – and often dangerous – digital landscape. By using these nine helpful tips, you can hopefully safeguard your personal data and maintain your online security at all times.
By adopting cybersecurity best practices such as the ones we’ve covered here, you can navigate the digital world with renewed confidence, and enjoy all of the benefits of technology without compromising your privacy – or falling victim to cybercrime.