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The Best Way to Protect Your Data Online

What’s the point?

You might wonder why bother to protect your data online, why would anyone want it and what use would it be to them if they did get hold of it? You need to think of your data as your online imprint and everywhere you go online you leave a digital trace of yourself. In this day and age, data is everything and companies that want to sell you their products and services try to know as much about you as possible so they can target the right messages to you. The problem is it is not only legitimate businesses who would like to get hold of your data, fraudsters and scammers are constantly looking for ways to access all your data. While they might not be so interested in your lifestyle choices, they are itching to get their hands on your financial details. The more they know about your overall digital preferences, the more likely they are to be able to trick you when it comes to making away with your money.

Whether you use the internet for gaming, gambling, watching TV, shopping, dating or just keeping in touch with friends and family, it’s important to take your online security seriously and protect your online data.

In the last ten years, big companies including Facebook, Home Depot, Marriott Hotels, LinkedIn and Yahoo have all suffered data breaches with billions of users affected. Sensitive information including full name, sexual orientation, payment logs, password hashes and IP addresses have been compromised. Because much of this data is linked to cloud storage services, targeted phishing by hackers could potentially access even more information including personal photographs or card payment information. 

Passwords and two-step authentication

So how do you go about making sure that your online data is secure? While it might be convenient to have one password or a combination of linked passwords and PINs on the web, it is not wise. The best place to start protecting yourself is by using a password manager which will generate a unique and complex password for every account you use. A service like Last Pass will automatically generate passwords for you, sync your passwords between your computer and your phone and help you identify weak or duplicated passwords. 

One area people tend to forget about is that their router, security cameras or other smart devices. These can be easy to hack into as most people don’t ever change the default password that comes with the device. If your password is still Password or 0000 – it is most certainly time to improve your security. 

Whenever you are on a site that uses financial data, it is essential to ensure that you have two-step authentication turned on. While it might feel like a bit of a hassle, it will save you much heartache in the future. A good example of secure online transactions is PayPal which uses this technology. You log in using your email and password and are then sent a number which only you can access. If you are someone who likes a flutter and are exploring online betting the safest way to play is by using a PayPal deposit casino with top safety features that allow real money deposits and withdrawals. Generally, Paypal is an incredibly safe financial platform that has been trusted by users for years.

Secure web browsers 

Another important check-up is to make sure that the web browser you are using is a secure one. Every web address you go to should be HTTPS and not just HTTP. This is important because it means you are always visiting websites that take their security seriously. The problem is that social media sites want to know as much about you as possible, so while you may not post about private things, every ad or link you click on gives away more information about you. It is a good idea to install an ad blocker that you can turn off on sites you want to support or know you can trust. And remember to opt-out of data wherever you can even if you have to do this manually. It will help to slow down stalker ads that want to follow you around. 

Stop the viruses before they get to you

It is also a good idea to install anti-virus software. Malicious hidden programs on your computer can wreak all kinds of havoc from scanning for personal information to opening annoying pop-ups. It is really important not to click on links that could be malicious, and this is a particular peril if there is one computer used by many people in the same household. Mac users are usually protected by the systems built into the macOS but PC users need to be a bit more vigilant. If you are running Windows 10 then use the built-in Windows Defender. Older versions of Windows probably need a second layer of protection and a package like Malwarebytes Premium should keep you safe. 

Phone security.

All the advice above applies to phones and computers other than anti-virus software. You should not install anti-viral packages on your phone – downloading trusted apps from official stores is the simplest way to keep you and your data safe in the mobile world.