3 Ways to Protect Your Information Online

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3 Ways to Protect Your Information Online

Source – BBC.com

In an world, the methods of identity and monetary theft have increased, and become more sophisticated. It’s unrealistic to expect that we become unknown, scrubbing our presence online completely–this is simply unfeasible. Employers need to be able to see that you have an online presence in order to ensure that you aren’t a liability or cause an unsafe work environment. Depending on your line of work, you will need social media, email, and a presence on different websites in order to make business happen or find qualified people.

However, it goes without saying that you should still invest the time and money into ensuring that your information, like your passwords, social security, and credit card information is safe. Yes, you have your computer’s security system in place–that’s great! But take a few more steps to protect yourself, or even your employees. Even in a physical world, the methods of theft have become more and detailed and clever. Here are 3 extra ways to keep your information safe: 

1) Have good passwords

Change your passwords every 3-6 months, and make sure they aren’t overly repetitive across all the apps and websites you use. LastPass or Padlock is a great vault app to store all of your passwords with a master password and two-factor authentication Think about the number of subscriptions and services there are–you definitely will have more than 5 passwords to remember. That’s why a tool like LastPass could be helpful to store all of the passwords, AND they give assessments of the strength of your passwords. They send reminders to change easily hackable or weak passwords. You don’t have to save and memorize all of your passwords because it saves them for you and fills in automatically whenever you enter a known website you use. 

2) Use a VPN on Public Wi-Fi 

When you use a public wi-fi network, be careful! You don’t know who else is on that network and what their intentions are. They could very easily gain access to your information because there is no authentication required to access a network connection on public Wi-Fi. A hacker on that same network can access every interaction you have online: a translation, an email, etc. They can also distribute malware to all of the computers and devices on that network. Every time you use public wi-fi, especially doing work-related things, use a VPN.

There are plenty of tools like Cloak and Nord VPN that can do this at the click of a button! Use SSL connections, agree to the “Always use HTTPS” pop up in your browser so that it doesn’t open the door for hackers to have your passwords and try to reuse it for other platforms where your password is possibly the same. At the very least, use your own hotspot if you’re in a public place and need to use the internet but don’t have a VPN.

3) Know the proper route to recovery 

Let’s say a key piece of information about you is stolen or hacked and taken over by another entity, who is now acting like you and making purchases in your name–what is the proper course of action? For your social security for example you can file a report to these agencies: identitytheft.gov through the FTC to report the identity theft and get a recovery plan, and the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint), they will send this complaint to regulatory and law enforcement agencies. Try to memorize a general framework of how to approach information theft.

Think to yourself even on a basic level ‘what do you need to get a birth certificate?’ in case that piece of information is lost or compromised. Think through these situations and what the proper course of action is, so that in the event it does happen–you’ll be able to calmly move forward and not be too stressed to even know what to do. 

Think of hacking protection as regular housekeeping. You lock your doors, you keep important documents in a locked file cabinet, and you put precious items in a locked box or safe. This is just another thing to add to that–yes the methods of theft get more sophisticated as technology professes. However, if you want to keep your identity and assets safe, it is 100% a worthy investment to keep abreast of these new ways so that you don’t fall for hacking tricks, phishing, and password breaches. It’s not something that should consume your time, but a little time investment every month to check your credit card statements, and changing your passwords, and being aware of information you transmit on public wi-fi networks will keep you out of harm’s way. 

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Author: Firdaus

I work as an IT consultant in the Toronto area and I love to write blogs about a variety of subjects. My passion for writing stems from the desire that everyone should have access to meaningful information. Whether it is a blog about society, culture, technology, or social media, I don’t want to miss the opportunity of sharing my thoughts with my friends and audience. Since I believe in mutual exchange of ideas, I am always on the lookout for a feedback on my writings.

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