Best Practices For Protecting Your
Personal Information Online
The internet has transformed most areas of our lives for the better. For instance, you can shop for any item you desire, set up an eCommerce side business, or learn French. The main downside of the internet, apart from disagreeing with people on social media, is that cybercriminals are waiting in the shadows. If you want your information to stay safe, it’s vital you’re aware of the following best practices for protecting your personal information when online.
Use Strong Passwords
Since the dawn of the internet, people have been told how important strong passwords are, and yet many people still use passwords like “12345” and “password,” which makes them extremely easy for cybercriminals to hack. To protect your personal information online, use different passwords for different accounts and make sure each one uses a combination of numbers and uppercase and lowercase letters. Never use an easily guessable password like your name or birthday. It’s also a good idea to update your passwords on a regular basis.
Get Identity Theft Protection Software
If you’re worried that cybercriminals could steal your personal information from any of your online accounts, you can gain peace of mind by getting identity theft protection software. While it cannot actually prevent fraudulent activity, you will be notified as soon as suspicious behavior is noted so that you can take quick action. So, it’s a good idea to invest in identity theft protection.
Don’t Share Personal Details on Social Media
People have become more and more blasé about posting intimate details on social media. In fact, many people are still not aware of how giving details about oneself online can help cybercriminals to target them. For instance, if you post a photo of yourself standing outside of your house with a caption saying it’s your birthday, scammers will know your name and date of birth and will be able to search for your property to get your address. Armed with those details, they can perform various types of scams. So, be careful about what you share on social media.
Never Click on Untrusted Links or Attachments
One of the most common ways in which cybercriminals place malware on your devices or access your details is to trick people into clicking on links or attachments that look as though they come from legitimate companies, like your bank or gas company. If the email address doesn’t look right, there are spelling mistakes, and there’s something off about the email, don’t click on any links or attachments. If unsure, contact the company that the email appears to be from to check its authenticity.
Avoid Online Shopping when Using Public Wi-Fi
It can be tempting to use free Wi-Fi at the local coffeehouse, but you need to be cautious. You should never complete financial transactions when using public Wi-Fi networks because it’s much easier for cybercriminals to access your activity. If you want to do some online shopping, wait to make the actual purchase until you are using a trustworthy Wi-Fi connection, such as your one at home.
Verify the Site You’re on Is Safe
If you’re using a website on which you need to enter your personal details, whether it’s to purchase a product or sign up for a newsletter, make sure that the site you’re on is legitimate and safe. If the URL begins with HTTPS, you know it’s secure. If there are no recognizable security symbols or information, or if there are typographical errors, avoid the site. You can further verify a site by clicking on the VeriSign. If you want additional protection, you can use a high-security browser that displays the EV SSL address bar.