Over the past 15 years our lives have shifted so that more and more of our interactions take place online. Social media is how we communicate and stay current, we shop, we bank and we even get out education all online. We store valuable information on all of our devices, bank details, tax information, account numbers and passwords. This begs the question, is your information safe online? Is it safe to store any kind of personal information on a device that is capable of connecting to the internet.
Are your concerns are valid?
In fact most people are concerned with online security, every time we read about another breach in security and personal information once again being stolen. In fact according to one survey more Americans worry about being hacked that any other crime. That means that 62% of people worry that some piece of personal data will be hacked while they are online. The real question though is that fear justified or not?
Basic internet safety
There are a few measures you can take to reduce the chances of your information falling into the wrong hands and make your devices a little more secure. The first and most obvious thing you want to do is avoid viruses, be very careful about downloading anything from an unknown source. Antivirus software is always recommended but remember it is not infallible and virus can get past it, so you need to be conscientious about where you download from.
Phishing scams are probably the second most common way information falls into the wrong hands. Phishing scams are when you get an email from what appears to be a legitimate source informing you that your security has been compromised. There is usually a link for you to follow to correct the “problem”, the website you arrive at looks very much like your bank or paypal and this is where you end up giving information to hackers. Banks, the IRS don’t send these types of emails. Always look closely at the web address, if it looks remotely suspicious close it right away and never click links from emails.
Avoid storing passwords
Browsers like Google Chrome will offer to store passwords for you, don’t allow them to. If your device is ever stolen thieves not only have your device but they have your personal information too. Do not share any personal information via email or messages services that data never disappears even if you delete it. Adjust your privacy settings on all social networks and stay up to date with policy changes.
The only way to remain completely safe from potential hackers is to completely remove your activities from the internet, but that simply isn’t realistic in this day and age. What you can do, is make sure that your information is the safest it can possibly be.