It’s easy to be blasé about all your personal information being stolen, especially when you assume that it wont happen to you. It does. So how do you ensure that your data stays safe in the digital age? We’ve compiled our top five essential tips on keeping your data secure. In the words of Gandalf the Grey, “keep it secret, keep it safe.”
1. Protect Your Devices
Ensure that your devices are always locked. Whether it’s through a strong passcode, password, or fingerprint, a password is the quickest way to safeguard your personal information from being stolen.
2. Use A VPN While Browsing
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a program that creates an encrypted connection over a less secure network. In other words, all your data stays safe when you’re on a public network. While there are free VPN’s available, it’s recommended to pay a low fee for a monthly subscription to secure your data.
3. Avoid Sensitive Transactions On Public WiFi
When working on the go, such as a cozy coffee shop or somewhere else on your travels, public wifi, on the surface, is a godsend. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that most public wifi networks are unsecure and potentially opens up the door to much more sinister acts. When a network is unsecure, it can allow for third parties to gain access to personal emails, web browsing activities, and unsecured logins. In some cases, this could even lead to malware being installed on your device. It’s best practice to use a VPN on an unsecured network, turn off wifi auto-connect settings and ensure that there’s a firewall enabled on your devices.
4. Consciously Check And Configure App Privacy Settings
Most apps that are available for download offer privacy settings that helps a user determine and configure what types of information are shared with the app (contacts, geo location, camera, microphone). The best practice is to share as little data as possible, allowing the app minimal access to your information.
5. Use Pass Phrases, Not Passwords
Instead of a password, which can at times be easily guessed, try a pass phrase instead. A pass phrase is a sentence that only you will remember – making it harder for hackers to figure out. Pass phrases allow for capitals, special characters, punctuation, and spaces.
It is important, however, to not use combinations associated with other personal identifiable information (banking number, social security number, drivers license, etc). If a hacker is able to access that information, there is a greater risk that they’ll try to get their hands on your account.