The issue of the security of personal data on the Internet is always relevant. However, five years ago it was not talked about so loudly and often. The reason is that the number of hacks and data leaks increases every year.
Today we are going to discuss an important problem and a question many users have on the Internet – how to avoid data leaks and minimize the possibility of becoming a victim of cybercriminals. Let's begin!
It is Important to Choose Carefully Where to Store Your Data
Some may think “Who needs me with my data?” – And they'll be partly right. Hackers are unlikely to go after the average user, but you can get caught in the crosshairs: during mass data leaks, they do not analyze the data they receive.
Smaller attackers hack into social networks, emails and obtain users' personal data, which they then use for their own benefit. The more cunning and dangerous ones turn to organizations, which give microloans and take out loans for people whose passport data ended up on the darknet. So it's worth being careful about where personal information is stored and how it's handled.
As for companies, they may think that they have secured their digital services and don't need to spend resources on extra precautions, but it's worth considering that even FBI email domains are being hacked. So additional security mechanisms are needed, especially for storing other people's data.
How to Protect Yourself from Hackers
We offer a number of recommendations to help users protect their data:
- Post as little personal information as possible in the public space
- Don't post every move you make on social media.
- Don't report trips to other countries, as thieves may want to use this information.
- Don't name your bank or cell phone carrier.
- Don't post information that could make you a victim of blackmail.
- Don't leave your personal number, email address, residential address or other sensitive information online. Someone will want to send spam or a phishing e-mail, someone will want to make physical contact.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, social media users are more likely to fall victim to scammers. And one of the biggest leaks recently was the leak of data of hundreds of millions of people from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and GitHub profiles – 4 terabytes of personal information.
Don't trust suspicious sites. Don't visit or enter personal information if you are not sure of the site's security. Also remember that HTTPS in the beginning of the site address indicates a secure connection, and HTTP is not secure (your data may be stolen).
Use complex passwords. Avoid simple passwords that can be guessed. According to a Tessian survey, 85% of people use the same passwords for different resources. Of course, remembering different passwords for each resource is difficult, but special applications do a great job with this.
Use two-factor authentication. You should not entrust personal information only to passwords. It is better to use an additional layer of protection – two-factor authorization – which allows services and applications to require not only a password but also additional proof of identity, such as a code from an SMS or email, or a click on an official application.
All popular services have such protection mechanisms, including Facebook, Instagram, Apple ID, Google, and Microsoft.
Don't keep all your data in one place. If you keep all your savings in one account, it's enough for a thief to access one account to get everything. That's why it's better to spread your finances across different accounts, to invest.
The same principle works with personal data
- It is better to create a separate account to keep working correspondence;
- In order to buy an item in the store and not to leave a mailing address for a one-time purchase, you can make a temporary email address in the service. The Internet is full of services providing this service;
- If you need to register with a suspicious social network, you can use services that allow you to create a fake phone number for verification or a fake email address;
- If you need an extra phone number, you can order a temporary virtual SIM card to receive SMS, for example, in the company SMS-man;
- For online purchases or trial subscriptions to the service, it is better to have a virtual card and limit the amount of money on it.
Regardless of whether you own an online business or just an ordinary Internet user, it is important to adhere to the basic rules of security.
By taking the time to change your password, deleting personal data from your social networking pages, securing your email with two-factor authentication and buying a virtual number, you can dramatically reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercriminals. This saves money and nerves, and sometimes even your career and reputation.