HOW TO PROTECT YOUR DATA AND IDENTITY ONLINE?
The internet has changed our lives in countless positive ways,
but it also has a dark side.
Every three seconds, someone’s identity is stolen. With social
media channels like Facebook and Twitter remaining as
popular as ever, cybercriminals are able to access a wealth of
personal information online.
Even people who think they are being cautious with their
privacy settings could be vulnerable to a cyber attack- particularly if they allow third-party applications to access their profiles.
Once a user’s information such as location, date of birth, and family connections has been logged, this can be used to hack into their other accounts, such as banking and online
If our confidential information is in so much danger, then how can we protect it online? The best way is to limit your data sharing online.
Short Fact: Third-party application is provided by some other vendor and not the manufacturer of the device.
The following ways can help you limit your data
- Exclude important personal information from your social media profiles: Details like your phone number, address, children’s age or school can all help hackers to collect more information. For example, on any social website, be selective in adding or not adding ‘friends’, minimize the details in your ‘About Me’ section, and be selective about hitting the like button. All of these will make you harder to be found.
- Check your social media privacy settings: For a more secure profile on any social website, change the settings to “Friends Only” for all posts.
- Protect your online passwords and strengthen them too: Many of us use passwords which we should not easily forget, like 1234, our birthdays, or our home towns. But the rule is, if they are easy to remember, they are easy to crack, too. So, select a password which is difficult to be traced, but which you can remember. Always use a password which is a combination of letters, numbers and special characters.
- Check your phone’s privacy settings: Turning your GPS location settings to “off” can also keep your family’s whereabouts more private. Watch out for ‘phishing e-mails: Spam email is getting increasingly refined. Never react to any messages with account data or passwords. Banks will never at any point request for such data. If all else fails, call the bank specifically to check or, even better, erase the email. Short fact: The GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite-based navigation system. It provides Geolocation and time Information. The GPS does not require the user to transmit any data and it operates independently of any telephonic or internet reception.
- Keep your communication network secure: Secure your Wi-Fi connection with a strong password so that the hackers in the local area cannot use your connection to carry out malicious activity
- Check for the https://: Before entering payment details into any website, check the web address has an ‘s’-which stands for secure-after the HTTP, like our site. If it does not, then do not use it.
- Monitor the posts you get online: Beware of anything suspicious in the mail, like pre-approved credit cards that you have not applied for and other money-related offers. Short Fact: Spam refers to the bulk of unwanted mails from unknown sources
- Protect your computer and smartphone with strong, up-to-date security software: If your computer or phone is infected with malicious software, other safeguards are of little help because you have given the criminals the key to all your online actions. Also, be sure that any operating system updates are installed.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever possible: You should switch all your most important online accounts, such as e-mail accounts and social media profiles to a two-step authentication. This means that each connection or log-in will need to be verified by text message or e-mail, as well as with the traditional password making it much harder for hackers to get in. Two-step authentication also has the advantage of warning you in the event of an intrusion. You will then know that it’s time to change your password.
- Stay away from public Wi-Fi: Free, open Wi-Fi and hotspots.can serve in cutting your charges and are helpful in completing work efficiently. They are also notoriously insecure, and criminals can easily use their flaws in order to see what you are doing online and access your accounts. If you need to go online in public, using your phone and a cellular connection is a much more secure option.
A password is just like a key to your personal information. It guards your personal information against potential online risks. Your secure presence in the cyberspace is completely attributed to the strength of your passwords and your ability to keep them safe. Several means besides phishing and spyware are used to gain access to your secure passwords.
When you create passwords with combinations of letters and numbers that are unique for each online account, you make it more difficult to unlock your identity-keeping your information safe and secure.
Short Fact: Any malicious programme on a computer or mobile device, such as virus, worm, trojan horse, spyware, etc. are collectively called Malware.
Given the best protective armor, the chances of anything getting through are greatly minimized. It means that if you have a good strong password, it is next to impossible to get through your data and information.
Now the next question arises What makes a strong password?’
Many people choose a password that is easy to remember-like an address, pet’s name or special date and use it over and over again. The attackers try these combinations first because they are the pieces of information that are easy to obtain.
To protect your passwords online, follow these tips to make them strong:
- Make sure that the password is a minimum of eight characters long.
- Use a combination of upper and lower case letters. Include at least one numeric character and one special character.
- Be creative. Use the first letter of each word of a memorable sentence or phrase, then make it even tougher by changing some of the letters to numbers. For example, the phrase, “All that glitters is not gold” can be written as AtGing0L$.
- Never use personal information like your name, birthday, driving license number or passport number.
- Never store your password on your computer or on your mobile phone.
- When you are signing in to your account, deselect the auto-selected option, “keep me signed in or remember me”
- Clear your browsing history or cache after online banking and shopping, so that no one can access it.
- Always ensure that the site is genuine and secured before providing your credentials.
- Avoid using passwords like words spelled backward, misspelled words, abbreviations, and single dictionary words that are easy to figure out.
- Do not repeat numbers (5555) and letters (bbbb). Do not include simple sequences(abcdefg or 56789) or letters that appear in a row on your keyboard (qwerty), instead use a complex sequence like a2b3c5d7qwert.
- Always create a unique password for each account. Avoid using the same password for multiple sites to prevent data loss.
- The answers you provide for the security questions should be as strong as your passwords.
- Pay attention to the browser’s security signals. If you detect anything suspicious, refrain from using that resource.
Password strength is the measure of a password’s efficiency to resist password cracking attacks. The strength of a password is determined by:
Length: The number of characters the password contains.
Complexity: The use of a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Unpredictability: Level of difficulty that the attacker cannot guess it easily.
To ensure that the password is strong you can use password meters, to check the strength of your password.
The recommended password strength is good or above.
Hope this article was helpful to you, if you have any suggestions regarding this then please free to comment below.
Stay tuned for the part 5 of this series…