From banking and shopping to networking and entertainment, everything is now online. The simplicity and convenience of online mediums have made people spend more time connected to the Internet through their computers, mobile devices and Android TV boxes.
According to a study conducted by Statista, the statistics portal, on average, Canadian adults between the ages of 18 and 34 spent 25.8 hours a week using the Internet in 2015. This data clearly states that people are spending more time online, making them vulnerable to cyber crimes.
There are several risks associated with online transactions as various types of personal information is stored in the cloud which can lead to identity theft and financial fraud. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your information and reduce the chances of a cyber attack without compromising the time you spend online. Do you want to know how? If so, then read the following four easy tips to keep your personal information secure online.
1) Create Strong and Unique Usernames and Passwords for Each Online Account
Many people use the same username and password for all online accounts they have. This might sound convenient as you don’t have to keep track of different login credentials, but it increases the chances of security threats as a single breach can give hackers access to all your accounts. Also, weak usernames and passwords such as birth dates and mobile numbers can be easily tracked. Protect yourself with multiple layers of security by creating strong and unique login credentials for each online service. Include letters, symbols and numbers in the password to make sure it is difficult to crack.
2) Don’t Give Private Information to Online Services
Sharing personal information such as name, address, phone number and date of birth on several forums and message boards might not be a big deal for some people. But, these details act as puzzle pieces for cybercriminals which can help create a complete picture of the individual. This process is known as doxing. It is a practice of researching and acquiring the private information about an individual or organisation through publicly available databases, social media websites and social engineering for various reasons. To avoid this, don’t readily give out your personal information to any online service, especially when you’re shopping online and be cautious of what you’re sharing on social media.
3) Change Privacy Settings on Social Media
If you have posted several pictures and videos on your social media account, then make sure that it’s visibility is limited to a trustworthy social circle. If not, then change the privacy settings of your account to limit the number of people who can view your posts. Also, keep a tab on your kid’s social media accounts to avoid keeping their safety at risk.
4) Avoid Using Free Public Wi-Fi
Free public Wi-Fi acts like a fishing bait to collect online information of individuals. There are several threats lurking in the background on free public Wi-Fi such as man-in-the-middle attacks, unencrypted networks, malicious hotspots, malware distribution and eavesdropping. If a hacker is using the same Wi-Fi network, he/she can easily track your online activity and use it against you. Therefore, avoid using unprotected wireless networks and if you are, don’t shop online, log in to your social media account or make bank transactions. Always switch to your mobile data or use your wireless USB adapter when doing the above-mentioned online activities.
Not all online platforms offer the security of your personal information. Therefore, be cautious before sharing information online. Use the above-mentioned tips to protect yourself from a security breach and unwanted leaks of private details on the web.