If you’ve spent any time following the news of late, you’ll likely have seen or read at least one feature pertaining to online security. Facebook is perhaps the most high profile of the many corporations to have had their slightly shady information gathering techniques exposed, and if nothing else, this spotlight on the subject is enough to get you thinking.
It makes you wonder exactly what sort of information about you is out there and accessible, and the rather disturbing answer is likely ‘a lot’. You see, the internet might be an essential resource for most of us, in both a private and professional capacity, but it’s also a tool that can be used to track and trace our identities, and to find out some rather revealing stuff about us.
This could not just paint us in a negative light, but potentially be incredibly costly if it fell into the hands of hackers. The obvious conclusion one must draw from this is that it’s time to start taking our privacy seriously. Want to know how to do that? Then read on to find out…
Step #1: Carry out an assessment of your online activities
The first thing to do if you’re hoping to keep yourself safe online is carry out a thorough assessment of your internet activities, to help you weed out any weak links. Have a good think about the sort of private and personal information you’re storing, sharing, and posting, not just from and on your computer, but also your mobile devices, emails, social networking platforms, and even cloud storage sites like Dropbox.
Ask yourself how safe these places are, who might be able to access them, and what the consequences would be if this information fell into the wrong hands. If the answer to any of these questions is a cause for concern, consider how best you can change your behaviour. For example, by altering your online paying habits so you’re no longer using physical money from your bank account, but a privacy coin like ZCash instead – shhhhh, it’s secret! Websites that allow for cryptocurrency payments, like the online casino Gamble.io are great for facilitating such changes, making it easy for you to use cryptocurrencies as opposed to more traditional, and easily threatened, forms of capital. Remember, even the smallest steps can help to make you an awful lot safer.
Step #2: Think before you share anything on social media
One commonly recurring weak link is social media. A place where plenty of individuals are prone to oversharing, these sites can not only be revealing in terms of what an employer could learn from them, but also with regards to what businesses and even hackers can find out about you. Tending to have very vague and complicated privacy policies, networks like Facebook and Twitter are frequently leveraged by those who want to absorb your personal information for advertising and marketing purposes, which many find intrusive.
The best ways to combat the dangers are to evaluate and amend your privacy settings, to use the privacy functions at your disposal, and never to share sensitive information such as passwords or banking information, even if this is just by posting about your first pet (this is a common safety question that can often be used to access your private accounts).
Step #3: Strengthen your passwords
There are so many tips we could share to help keep you safe, but the last one we’ll focus on here is one of the most important: always be sure to use strong passwords. The vast majority of people use their name, birthday, driver’s license number, or even phone number for this purpose, because of how easy these are to remember, but the issue is this information is often readily available in the public domain.
Indeed, a quick visit to your Facebook page would reveal some or all of this to any who wanted to access your accounts, which is why it’s time to think smart. Opt instead for the most ambiguous word you can think of, add in some numbers to make it even more secure, and then all you have to do is make sure you don’t forget it.
Use these three top tips and tricks to protect your personal information today. We promise that the small amount of effort it takes really will be worth it in the long run.