Advice

4 Ways to Keep Your Personal Data Safe When Browsing Online

We increasingly live our lives in the online realm. Services such as banking, shopping, and entertainment are now primarily provided over the internet. 

This has improved convenience and prompted cost-savings in many areas for consumers. One drawback is the amount of personal data we must share with these platforms: names, addresses, emails, and even bank details. It can leave us vulnerable if this information gets into the wrong hands. 

Laws such as the GDPR promote better practices among official bodies, retailers, and employers. However, you could be the victim of a scam or some other attack if cybercriminals access your personal data.

The good news is there are many measures you can take to ensure your data remains safe.

Use a VPN on Public Wi-Fi Networks 

A VPN encrypts your IP address, browser history, and cookies, among other functions.

Encrypting cookies is particularly relevant to protecting yourself online because they often  include login details and information about your browsing history.

Public Wi-Fi is often less secure, and bad actors may be able to view your activities if you’re not properly protected. 

If you know you’ll only be using public Wi-Fi briefly, get protected with a free VPN trial that offers immediate encryption.

Use Strong and Unique Passwords for All Accounts

A password is your first line of defence in protecting your personal data.

You wouldn’t choose a single poorly designed door to protect your personal belongings at home – why do the same with passwords? Having one for everything puts all your data at risk if it’s leaked or hacked.

You don’t even need to create and remember loads of different passwords. There are plenty of password managers that create secure options and store them for you. 

Be Careful About What You Share and Click

Always be on your guard when receiving questionable messages from your contacts or people you don’t recognise. This applies to text messages, emails, or social media DMs.

Have they asked you to click something in an email? Have they told you to do so urgently? Is the language inconsistent with how that person would usually communicate with you?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, it may be a scam. Contact the person claiming to be talking to you on an alternative channel to ensure it’s legitimate.

Blocking and reporting numbers or addresses involved in potential scams can also stop other people from falling into the trap

Keep Your Devices’ Software Up to Date

It might be a mild inconvenience to lose your mobile for a few minutes while it updates, but the alternative would be much more inconvenient.

Hackers and cybercriminals often discover weaknesses in software over time. The older your software is, the higher the chance someone has discovered a weak spot. 

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