Over the past ten years, the lines between the real world and the virtual one have blurred massively. Technology is in our hands on a daily basis and is progressing at an unprecedented pace. Whilst this is good for communication, progress and productivity, it has also led to a new type of crime – cybercrime.
The anonymity which comes from the internet helps with muddling the lines of even the most moral and ethical of people, which makes cybercrime even more concerning. Now, thanks to technology, one of our most valuable commodities – which we can’t even see – is our online data and this makes it even harder to take care of. Data is made up of our personal information, from our address, age and medical conditions to political affirmations.
On an almost weekly basis, we hear of data hacks and leaks, and those are just the ones which are reported on. People have their data stolen, sold and hacked all the time, so keeping our online data safe is one of the best forms of protection. The first line of defence when protecting your data is you, so here are some ways in which you can keep your online data safe.
Create Strong Passwords
Whilst it is convenient and saves time, it is important to remember never to save passwords on your device. Should your device get stolen, then the thief has instant access to your social media, bank accounts and other sensitive information. If you need to safely store passwords on your devices, then look into secure password managers, which can be downloaded free or for a small cost.
Criminals are getting smarter and need just one password to get into a large proportion of your data. We’re all told to create strong passwords, but how many of us actually do so? Avoid using names, birthdays and other information which can be easily found out and instead use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols.
Back-Up Your Data
Backing up data is something which is so often overlooked, but it is a highly important aspect when it comes to data protection. Ransomware is a type of cyber attack where hackers will hold your data hostage in the hope of receiving a ransom, so it is important to back up and clear your data on a regular basis. There are now cloud-based services which offer data backup and which can often be timed to do so automatically.
Beware of Public Wi-Fi
The majority of home Wi-Fi connections are encrypted, meaning that you will need a password or network key when accessing it. However, some public Wi-Fi connections are not, meaning that your data is particularly vulnerable and you are at risk of people accessing and monitoring your online activity. Sometimes, hackers release malware through these connections, which then infect your device. It is recommended that you avoid using these Wi-Fi connections, but if you do use them then ensure that you have turned on firewall protection and have up-to-date malware protection installed.
Whilst no method offers 100% protection, there are plenty of ways in which you can protect yourself and keep your information and data safe. If you are a business, then you may want to invest in the highest level of security for your company details and your employees, as many hackers often find holes in the systems, leaving businesses particularly vulnerable. You should also regularly carry out technical due diligence to look into the tech used within your business. Educate yourself on the latest online security tactics and use common sense.