How to Protect your Personal Data Online

Last updated on October 9th, 2023 at 01:15 pm

With technological advancement, interactions between persons and businesses have become increasingly online. From the days of personal data assistants (PDAs) to 2020s super smartphones, we now have a lot of our data online. Personal data ranges from seemingly harmless information like our names to sensitive information like home addresses and account details.

A breach in the cybersecurity system of any corporation means lots of persons will have their data hacked. And no one wants their data in the hands of an intruder. The prospects are terrifying, yet they happen more often than we like to imagine.

In the virtual entertainment industry, which provides us with the opportunity to spend time with friends in favorite online games, like the Book of Ra, data breaches are usually very disastrous. This is a result of the ever-changing and extremely dynamic nature of the virtual entertainment technological environment. Plus the fact that very personal information is often required. Industry operators now undergo numerous tests authorizations and regular audits by both government and independent institutions.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has also greatly helped the situation by defining more precise personal data. Now personal data includes IP addresses and location, and sensitive personal data categories like ethnicity, religious belief, political opinion, and others. It has also established clear and binding principles and requirements for businesses and data controllers to follow. Individuals can now submit a personal data access request to data controllers for what information they have.

Although protecting customers’ data from cybercriminals has become the top priority of businesses, we still hear of massive data breaches a times. As data protection improves, hackers also improve their skills. The April 2021 Facebook data breach is just one of several personal data breach examples. Personal data protection is no longer something to be left to businesses alone. Individuals also have a role to play in protecting their data.

And even though you cannot eliminate the break-ins, there are ways to reduce your chances of falling victim. You’ll find out some simple ways to keep your data safe below. Keep reading.

10 Ways to Protect Your Personal Data Online

Some say the best way to keep your data safe is to stay completely offline. While that may be true, it is impossible to do that in the 21st century. And it will get increasingly more difficult to limit online interactions as technology advances. Here are some simple habits to imbibe to protect your data online.

1. Use Strong Passwords or Passphrase

Unless you’re tech-savvy, dates of birth and anniversaries are usually the first thing that comes to mind when creating a password. Avoid using your birthday, wedding anniversary, children’s birthday, and other such information as passwords. An intruder will easily figure out these things and gain access to your personal information.

Create strong passwords by mixing capital and small letters with numbers and symbols. Creating passphrases is also a good alternative to passwords. A Passphrase is a sentence or a series of random words. The longer your password or passphrase, the stronger it is. You should also avoid using one password across many sites; it’s better to create a unique password for each site.

2. Install Software Updates

Software updates usually come with improved security configurations to tackle newer threats. While regular software updates can sometimes be annoying, keeping your device and personal data protected is necessary. Using outdated software leaves your device susceptible to recent malware and other newer threats. You can set your device to install updates to make it less annoying for you automatically.

3. Be Careful with Public Wi-Fi

Using free public Wi-Fi is easy to save on internet costs, but it is also easy to have your data stolen. Most free public Wi-Fi does not have adequate security measures, and everyone on the same network can access your data. If you must use free public Wi-Fi, ensure you do not carry out any financial transactions. Do so only on a secure network.

4. Verify Links and Attachments

Opening links and attachments from unverified sources can infect your devices with malware. Phishing scams are most often composed to look like genuine communication from corporate entities. Open only links and attachments from trusted sources.

5. Share Limited Information on Social Media

In the age of reality shows and celebrity culture, it is tempting to put up all your life events on social media, but it is not advisable. Criminals often pick up sensitive information from people’s social media pages. Check your privacy settings to control who sees your posts, location, and other personal details. Ensure your location is turned off on your devices when not in use.

6. Check Site Security

Not all websites are secured. Before giving out your information on any website, check to ensure it is secured. If you see a lock icon at the top next to the web address and the URL begins with “HTTPS,” it means the site is secured. If that lock icon is missing, it is not secured, do not input your details.

7. Set up Two-Factor Authentication

Enable and set up two-factor authentication on all financial applications and every other app that requires personal information. This will help prevent unauthorized personal data access.

8. Turn Off the Computer after Use

When not in use, turn off your computer or turn off the internet connection. Leaving a computer turned on with an internet connection gives scammers opportunities to infect your computer with malware.

9. Put Passwords on Devices and Wireless Network

Keep all your devices locked with strong passwords. This will help protect your personal information in cases of loss or theft.

10. Configure App Privacy Settings

Most apps allow privacy settings, enabling you to decide the type and amount of information you want to share. Check privacy settings once you install a new app to configure it to your preferred choice.

Bonus: Consider Additional Protection

Malware is a thorn in the flesh of many computer users. It can infiltrate your computer from various sources and might not even be evident at first. While your operating system’s antivirus can protect you to an extent, it might not be sufficient to protect your device from certain kinds of malware. Installing anti-malware and firewall protection is necessary to secure your computer and personal information from all classes of security threats.

To Sum It All Up

More than ever, personal data must be protected by every means possible, especially because cybercrimes are increasing. We expect businesses and sites we visit to protect our data; we also have to secure our data. Following the tips given above will help ensure our data stays secure.

Please do well to leave a comment if you found this article useful. And if you have more helpful tips, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

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