Everyone on the internet- including you- is constantly at risk of getting their personal data and identity stolen. There’s no hiding from this. In 2019, the number of data breaches has seeming doubled from last year. Some of the major breaches involved prominent companies like Facebook (wpersonal records of over 540 million users were exposed), Capital One, First American Financial Corp, Dow Jones Canva, and many others.
If these organizations and companies, with millions of dollars at their disposal, can’t protect their own data, what more can the Average Joe do against these kinds of attacks?
Well, at the enterpise level, there’s no getting away from large scale data breaches. However, there are various small ways with which you can protect yourself to mitigate- or even completely avoid- having your personal data completely stolen and/or tampered with. Here are five of them:
Avoid Using Free Public Wifi
As the popular saying goes “You get what you pay for.” It might be free, but your neighborhood coffee shop’s wifi connection is a major security risk that can allow hackers to easily compromise your system. With the right tools (most of which can be easily downloaded from the Internet) and programming skills, anyone else that are connected to the same network can “eavesdrop” on whatever it is you’re doing online.
Always use your own secure network to do any kind of transaction (especially banking and financial ones) online. If using public Wifi can’t be avoided, at least use a VPN and Tor browser (a special kind of browser that allows users to browse the internet anonymously).
Close All Unussed Accounts
There’s a huge chance that you have a number of accounts on websites that you rarely use. If there’s a breach involving one of them, there’s a huge chance that attackers will have access to personal data that you’ve attached to that particular account. In turn, these data can then be used to gain access to other accounts that you might have on other sites.
Better shut these unused accounts for good. The less info you have hanging around online on the Internet, the better.
Keep Your Social Media Activity In Check
Hackers can use other ways to steal your personal data. It might not involve hacking at all. They can easily use social engineering on your contacts on social media to get what they’re looking for.
This is why it’s best to limit your social media activity and presence. Check your privacy settings, limit the people who can see your posts, and avoid disclosing information that can compromise your safety (current whereabouts, personal details, daily schedule, etcetera).
Create Strong Passwords
This might be a no-brainer, but is something that is usually not followed by a lot of people. Avoid using passwords that can easily be brute-forced. Use random strings of letters and numbers that are unrelated to your life (not birthdays or important dates) whatsoever. Consider using a password manager to simplify this process.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
For services that offer it, always enable two-factor authentication. This is especially important for important accounts like emails, banking, and financial-related ones. The added layer of security ensures that potential attackers will have a hard time gaining control of these accounts.
This article is sponsored by Orlando Towing & Recovery