How Safe are You, and Your Information, Online?

Stealing online info

Data security has recently been in the spotlight again and more than ever online users are worried about their personal information being stolen.

High profile companies obviously spend huge amounts in protecting their online data, but what does Data Security mean for the average Internet user who just likes to browse the web, check emails, and pay accounts?

The Guardian published an excellent article on how to stay safe online; most of these things would seem obvious to the naturally cautious and suspicious, but if you’re one of those who are very blasé about confidentiality then you need to take some notes. You can read the full article here, but here follows the basic gist of their advice:

Avoid using free email services such as Gmail, Webmail, Hotmail etc. Someone else owns your email account. Rather buy your own domain name with email addresses included.

Don’t use Cloud services such as Dropbox, iCloud, Evernote. Sounds obvious but hundreds of thousands of Internet users are actively using these sharing platforms.

Switch your Bluetooth and Wireless off on your mobile devices until you absolutely need to use those capabilities. If you don’t think you’re paranoid enough about that then just watch an episode of Person of Interest. It’s just too see easy to be spied on when using open wifi in public places. If it’s something you have to make use of then make sure every site you browse is prefaced with HTTPS and not HTTP.

Stealing online info

Delete your Facebook account. Most people would balk at just the suggestion of this act, but it definitely makes sense. I am constantly amazed at how much personal information people willingly post to their profile for the world to see: contact numbers and addresses, pictures of their kids, events they will be attending (thereby informing everyone when their house will be empty), wives posting when their husbands will away for a long period and so on.

If you can’t bring yourself to delete your account, at the very least ensure that you have modified your privacy settings so only your friends can see your information. See this page on how to change your Facebook settings.

A while ago I wrote about how potential employers were asking candidates to supply their Facebook usernames and passwords so the company could browse through their entire history.  (Read the full article at…to me that’s way past crossing the line.

If you just follow these four ideas your personal information will immediately be a lot safer online and you’ll lower your risk of being targeted by online snoopers and hackers.

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