Ahhhh the internet…wonder or wonders….has brought with it so many fantastic things, but in this increasingly online world it can also bring with it major headaches – hackers, scams, phishing, and online data theft. Arghhhhhh! First world problems eh?
And today in this post, I’m going to be focusing on the latter. With online data theft becoming the fastest growing criminal activity in the UK, I’ve teamed up with Data Label on this post to give you a few pointers to make sure you and your family’s data is protected against data transfer hacks:
Use secure passwords
New Year, new passwords: start off your year on a good foot by resetting all your passwords. They should be unique with no identifiable information (like your name or birth date) included, with a mixture of letters and symbols too. If you struggle to remember them, use a password manager. If your accounts are more difficult to access, your personal information will be safer. Have a quick scan of the most common passwords used to make sure you are not using something too obvious.
Never insert an unknown memory stick, SD card or CD into your computer
You’d think this only happened in the movies, but data transfer hacks are far more common than you realise. Whether you’re handed a CD as you’re heading out of a concert, you spot a memory stick lying around in the library, or bought a second hand or fake memory card off eBay, do not insert it into your computer. These can be loaded with software that will automatically upload a key tracker or similar to your system which can send information back to the hacker so they can access your data.
Avoid transactions on public WiFi
Public hotspots can be useful and convenient, but try to avoid any banking transactions and sending sensitive information if you’re using one of these. They can be more easily compromised and they make it easier for people to intercept data.
Back up, back up, back up
It goes without saying: make sure that your data is backed up somewhere secure. If your original copy gets lost, stolen or compromised, you won’t lose the information if it is backed up elsewhere, whether that’s an external device or in cloud storage.
Encrypt your data
Data encryption is now easily available for the general public. Use a software that will scramble your data when it is send via email to keep it safer.
Get protection against malware
If a hacker can’t gain access to your device in the first place, it’s easier to protect your data. Malware can appear in the most surprising places and take various forms, from viruses to Trojan horses and spyware, in emails, on websites or in downloadable documents. Make sure that you have an up to date anti-virus and anti-malware protection programme on your computer – if you have no idea where to start here’s a useful overview of free and paid antivirus software but personally I am a big fan of Bitedefender. Also be sure to follow the advice given in Data Label’s infographic.
Are you concerned about keeping your family’s data safe online? What of the above precautions do you take?
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*This is a collaborative post