Data is the new gold. It’s plentiful, accessible, and offers hundreds to thousands of dollars for companies. This is why many companies nowadays build software, create services, and force account creations with data in mind—they profit off user data.
On the surface, this may not sound too bad. After all, what data could these companies be collecting that is harmful to the users? Quite a lot, actually. Companies like Facebook and Google thrive off data collection and collect any data possible, including personal information. This is why it’s important for you to protect your data while online.
Tips to Protect Your Data
There are multiple ways to protect your data, but to keep things simple and succinct, this list will only include the 3 most important tips to help you with data protection. It’s highly encouraged that you go out and seek out even more ways to protect your data, as there is no shortage of data protection methods.
1. Encrypt Your Devices
Do you use public networks? Many people do, either for work or because they’re out and about and need a constant connection to the Internet. And while public networks are great—convenient and easily accessible—they’re dangerous.
When you use a public network, you’re exposing your data (and device) to cybercriminals also on the network. This means data leaks and man-in-the-middle attacks become a real threat.
These attacks and data leaks affect you and potentially everyone else on the network, and the data stolen can be used to commit fraud and identity theft. However, not everyone can afford to ditch public networks, maybe not even you!
Avoiding this requires only that you encrypt your data using a VPN. A virtual private network actively encrypts the data sent from your device and masks its IP address, meaning cybercriminals will have a difficult time stealing your data.
2. Use Password Managers to Secure Your Accounts
Accounts contain troves of personal information—information that, if hacked, would wreak havoc on users’ lives. And while all accounts require a password (and sometimes two-factor authentication), not everyone uses strong and unique passwords.
This lack of strong passwords means cybercriminals can easily hack accounts and steal data, causing data breaches. To make sure your accounts don’t fall victim to cybercriminals, use a password manager to generate secure passwords.
Password managers come with password generators that allow you to generate secure passwords for your accounts, along with a vault that you can securely store your passwords in.
3. Avoid Sketchy Software and Suspicious Websites
Cybercriminals have improved since the early days of the Internet. Phishing scams look like real, official emails. Scam websites mimic large, trusted sites like Amazon and eBay. Point is, it’s easy to end up on a scam website or download a sketchy app. And when you do either of these things, you welcome viruses and spyware onto your device.
From there, your device is compromised, along with your data. There are ways to rid your device of malware, but who knows how much damage was done before then.
This is why it’s important to practice common sense while on the Internet and avoid clicking on anything you don’t recognize or downloading any strange software.
Your data is more than a pile of information—it’s a source of wealth for companies. Because of this, it’s important that you do whatever it takes to protect your data and secure your information online.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of ways for you to do that, from using a password manager to create strong passwords to downloading a VPN to encrypt your data.