5 Ways To Protect Your Personal Data

Did you know that our personal data is the most valuable currency in the world? And still, not everyone knows how to protect it.

We have asked the question: How can we protect our information? And what are some simple and cheap ways to do it?

Here are the answers we got.

Marcin Gwizdala, Head of Technology at Tidio

“With all the data protection issues and hackers creeping up on you relentlessly, making sure your personal information is safe will let you sleep calmly at night. To protect this valuable data, you should follow some of the principal rules:

Let’s start with the least obvious but more and more popular one – two-factor authentication. Nowadays, it’s one of the best ways to protect your data, so set it on all your accounts if possible.
Be aware of shady links and attachments in your email inbox. Even if you manage your email like a pro, hackers will always try to sneak into your inbox with a trap. Always double-check the addressee, and under no circumstances must you open the links if you’re unsure what they are.
Speaking of double-checking, if you think that every established webpage on the internet is safe, then think twice. Before entering any personal data on the page, you should look at the top of your browser. If there is a lock symbol and the URL begins with “HTTPS,” you’re safe.
Don’t overshare on social media! Remember that hackers are like ninjas in shadows, you can’t see them, but they’re right behind you. So if someone is following you on the street, you probably won’t shout out your personal information to passers-by, right? The same applies to social media.
Last but not least, anti-virus software is your best friend in fighting data theft. Consider installing it on your device to protect you and your family from the attackers.”

Swapnil Pate, News & SaaS SEO Consultant

“As your browser is singularly the most important mode through which you connect to the internet, it is imperative that you use a good, lean and secure browser for all of your internet activity. It is not mandatory that you use a browser that comes pre-installed with your laptop or smartphone. You can choose a browser that is most convenient and functional for your use and at the same time takes care of your privacy and security. Please remember, you start getting tracked from the very moment you connect with the internet. There are marketers, companies, ad agencies, government agencies and persons with malicious intent too who keep tracking you. Your browser has access to your sensitive data and it is in your control to set it up in such a way that your data and privacy is not shared with the outside world without your consent and full knowledge. 

You can browse the internet using two of the most popular modes that give some privacy to your browsing viz. incognito or private mode and virtual private network (VPN). However, in incognito mode, your details / data / browsing history etc. is still accessible to the outside world. Using VPN is a more secure way of browsing the net where your important details like IP address / geolocation etc. are masked, data is encrypted and you can’t be tracked. 

Working in a secure environment also involves installation of a good antivirus software / firewall that protects you from virus attacks, adwares, malwares, malicious codes that can steal your data etc. As far as possible, go for paid / ad-free versions of good softwares.

The password is the key to your digital fortress and a strong one is definitely going to protect you against brute attacks however threatening those might be. A strong password may be one that is 12 to 15 characters long, has a mix of upper & lower case letters, numerals and special characters. You have to use strong passwords for your devices like the Wi-Fi router and all your visitations / subscriptions /logins over the net. Your password/s strictly can’t be names of your near and dear ones, your car or bike number, birthdays, anniversaries etc. Never make the mistake of keeping a single password for all devices / sites. Take special care where financial transactions are involved. Your passwords should necessarily be strong as well as different for your personal and your professional browsing preferences. Please do not jot down passwords in any personal notebook or diary. 

Now, how to remember all those passwords? You can use a password manager to store all your passwords. Password managers built in your browser suffice to a certain extent but are inconvenient if you are using multiple browsers. You can always go for a paid password manager that uses state of the art technology and encryption methods. It even alerts you the moment any breach is observed

This is really a very simple and effective way to protect your online privacy. Share minimum possible information online. Whenever you are filling out any online forms, skip all the fields that are not mandatory. Do not offer any voluntary / extra information. Same is the case with the use of social media. Do not share your personal details on social media. Check privacy and security policies of these apps and opt for settings that will protect your details and are not further shared with third parties. Be very very suspicious of emails that ask for details like your password / pin etc. and warn you to block your credit card or bank account or even your cellular service if not shared. Keep yourself updated about various techniques used by fraudsters so that you don’t share sensitive information online. If you have to use apps for business, choose the ones that are end-to-end encrypted.”

Demi YilmazCo-Founder at Colonist.io

“One of the best ways to protect your computer from viruses and hackers is to keep your software up to date. This includes your operating system, web browser, and any plugins or extensions you might be using. Major software updates often include security fixes for vulnerabilities that have been discovered, so it’s important to install them as soon as they’re available. You can usually set your software to update automatically, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.”

Danielle BedfordHead of Marketing at Coople

“A strong password is one that is difficult for others to guess and should be at least eight characters long. It should also include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols (@, #, $, %, etc.). Avoid using easily guessed words like “password” or easily accessible personal information like your birthdate. It’s also important to never use the same password twice. If a hacker gets ahold of one password, they will often try it on other accounts. So, if you have the same password for your email, social media, and banking accounts, a hacker could potentially gain access to all of them.”

Marc De Diego FerrerFounder at MCA Assessors

“App permissions have recently become a topic of debate after it emerged that popular apps were requesting permissions to access users’ SMS and call logs and track their locations. We often click “accept” without fully understanding what we’re agreeing to and this has exposed personal and confidential data of millions of users. When you install a new app, take a close look at the permissions it is asking for and think about whether they make sense in the context of the app. Do you really need to give an app permission to access your location or contacts? If not, don’t do it.”

Peter LucasCEO at Relocate to Andorra

“We all know we should be careful about clicking on attachments in email, but what about links? It’s become more common for cybercriminals to use “spear phishing” tactics, where they find out as much information as possible about you and then craft an email that looks like it’s from a trusted source. The goal is to get you to click on a link, which can install malware or direct you to a site where your personal information is requested. Be particularly careful of unsolicited requests, even if they look like they’re from someone you know.”

Riley Beam, Managing Attorney

“Most of us are proud of how active we are online and spend quite some time building our online presence too. While this is essentially part of the usual in today’s world where the internet has indeed become an integral part of our personal and professional lives, what we fail to realize is that we seldom review or restrict our actions. The result is that without even being aware of it, we reveal a lot of our personal and classified information. Begin by reviewing your online habits and in addition to deleting any data you may find in the process, do remain aware of repercussions going forward too.”

Kris Harris, Director

“Social media is probably the one place that witnesses the most slip-ups when it comes to sharing personal information. Those random selfies that we are all so eager to share with our friends and followers are among the worst culprits. Your car’s plates in the background, your credit card in full view on a restaurant table, a picture with your laptop screen showing off important information, or even unintentional revelations in your own comments and posts — there are plenty of ways in which you share your personal information without even realizing it. Staying alert on social media and deliberately refraining from giving any clues to your personal life is a great way to protect your personal information online.”

Dillon Hammond, Marketing and Social/Digital Media Manager

“Often heard but highly effective — change passwords frequently

This is probably the most common solution to protecting your personal information online, and thereason you hear it all the time is because it’s the most effective. Login IDs and passwords have a way of getting out and making the rounds of the internet. It could be a random website you signed in to that lost your data and chose not to inform you about it or an email you thought was secure but really wasn’t. The best way to negate any risks is to create a habit out of changing your passwords frequently.”

Shiv Gupta, Founder and CEO

“If you share too much personal information on social media, it could end up in the wrong hands. Pay attention to your privacy settings as well as the photos and posts you upload to ensure that you are limiting the audience for what you are posting. Tips for controlling privacy settings on various social media sites are provided by the Center for Identity at the University of Texas. You might also wish to check the privacy settings on your children’s social media accounts. Make sure they are aware of what information is appropriate to share and what is not when it comes to publishing.”

Marty Spargo, Reize Club

“Some of the ways I protect my personal information online is by removing my middle initial and middle name on all my social media accounts. Middle names are vital, you should never give them out often, especially in the virtual world. I never overshare on social media as well. Ranting, sharing my thoughts, and posting pictures with family and friends are a big no-go for me. I also ensure that my accounts are well protected by setting a strong password and providing complicated security questions that only I can answer. Another thing is, that I never open any links or attachments without a VPN. I’m also cautious about the sites I go to. I never go to questionable sites.”

Craig Boyle, Co-Founder and Sales and Customer Service Director

“Use a strong password. A strong (and unique password) for each of your accounts is paramount to ensure that you keep your information safe. Avoid creating passwords that are easy to guess. A combination of special characters, numbers and capital letters works best. Alternatively, you could use a password manager to help with that.
Don’t click on suspicious links. Especially when they come via email or SMS. There are a lot of hackers that can easily access your personal information, and a lot of that activity happens via email. Stay vigilant and don’t click on links or download attachments that look suspicious.
Beware of free, public Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi networks are one of the most unsecure, and hackers can easily get access to your data when you’re using them. So if you MUST use one, proceed with caution. A VPN software can help you stay protected if you need to access a public network.
Don’t overshare on social media. Check your privacy settings and make sure you don’t post too much information about yourself online – location, birthday, or other personal details: criminals can use this information against you.
Consider additional protection. These days it’s extremely simple to add an extra layer of protection to your accounts, such as two-factor authentication. There are many free apps available that are easy to use and will offer your extra protection online.”

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