In India, a 2021 Norton Cybersafety Insight Report revealed that over 2 in 5 or around 45% of consumers have been victimized by identity theft. This happens when someone uses your personal information and commits fraud by pretending to be you.Three-quarters of the Indian adults studied in the Norton report expressed concerns about data privacy and wanted to do more to safeguard it. Here’s how you can manage and protect your online presence better.
Use Strong Passwords
Create a strong password that cannot be easily guessed even by people closest to you but is easy for you to remember. It should also be different from the other passwords you use to log in to other accounts, especially your email and financial accounts. Longer passwords at least 10 characters long are usually safer, with uppercase and lowercase characters combined with a symbol or number. Never use your birthday, phone number, or email name. These are usually the first information hackers try to get into and use to access all your other online accounts.
Install Security Suites with Private Data Protection
Security suites are programs that keep dishonest people and other software from infecting your computer and stealing your personal information. Security suites also include blocking harmful software like viruses, spyware, and phishing programs that can be secretly installed while you are online and engaging with websites and social media platforms. You should also choose a security suite that offers private data protection.
Password-Protect Your Router
Any wireless router that accesses the Internet from your home or business should always be password-protected. Otherwise, you are leaving it open for anyone in your router’s range to use it for accessing the Internet, especially hackers. An expert hacker with cybercrime experience can use this opportunity to steal information from your computer while accessing the Internet using your router. Additionally, enable the encryption feature of your wireless router. This will scramble any data you send online to further protect your sensitive information.
Configure Your Browser to Hide Your Personal Information
Separate Your Private Life From Your Public Life on Social Media
Engaging in social media has its benefits and drawbacks. An obvious benefit is you can be technologically connected to more people than ever before, beyond the usual geographical limitations. A not-so-obvious drawback is that people mistake technological connection for intimacy, and share a lot of personal details with people they don’t even know. So don’t share on social media what you wouldn’t otherwise share with anybody in person.
Try typing “how to access my Facebook archive” in Google Search, for example, and you will see top search results showing you how you can access and even download your Facebook archive. This is misleading, however. Facebook itself can access all your personal information and activities on its platform since the day you signed up. Even if Facebook will not use this information for sinister purposes, the fact remains that all your personal information shared with Facebook is out there and could be used against you by anyone technically savvy enough to overcome Facebook’s security measures.
Avoid Phishing Scams
Phishing is an online attack to steal user data, including login and credit card details. This happens when a user opens a message from who they thought was a trusted source, clicks a malicious link in the message, and allows the installation of malware, the revealing of sensitive information, or an outright ransomware attack. So, never open any email or attachments from unknown senders. Avoid anyone offering too-good-to-be-true schemes. Never click on any links in messages from untrusted sources, and educate yourself further on how to avoid phishing scams.
Look for Encryption Before Submitting Financial Data
Before engaging in any financial transaction online, check whether the website you are about to submit financial information to is encrypted or not. Encryption means digital data has been secured using one or more mathematical techniques. There are specifically two things to look out for: the trusted security lock symbol that appears in the address bar to the left of the web address, and the extra “s” at the end of the “HTTP” in the website’s address, which should be an “HTTPS”.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. As you openly access the Internet, don’t let people on the Internet have open access to you and your personal data. These recommended measures essentially have to do with building an electronic wall around your online identity and activities. Adopt these measures now to improve your online privacy and protect your online presence.