We all seek to keep ourselves safe. After all, it’s one of our basic needs as humans. We deserve to be safe. However, in a world where not everyone has the best intentions, we often have to work at staying safe. Especially, with all the online applications & personal data protecting your digital self is essential.
We try to ensure our safety on an everyday basis when it comes to more traditional aspects – or what’s in our control, anyway. When we speak about traditional aspects, we’re talking about the safety of our homes, staying vigilant when we’re walking down the street at night or crossing the road. This also extends to keeping our private information away from the eyes of others, like keeping your PIN a secret when you’re at the ATM. By taking the necessary precautions to keep our property safe, we also help to keep ourselves safe.
Today, however, things have changed. We’re connected to the digital world virtually at all times. It’s not just that we’re browsing the internet or playing games online – we’re also logged in! By logging in, we’re connected to something bigger than we can imagine, with hidden dangers that we don’t totally understand. The fact is that these dangers exist, and the well-being of our digital selves can impact our physical selves in a very real way. That being said, it’s crucial today that you learn to protect your digital self. This can be done in just a few minutes each day!
1. Create Secure Passwords
It can be a real pain to create a new account whenever you want to buy something from a new online store or if you’re thinking of trying out that hot new dating app that everyone’s talking about. Creating a strong password is a good way to protect your digital self. This usually means that your password needs to be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, along with a number and a special character.
A strong password is just one side of the coin. A secure password, however, means that you need to ensure that you haven’t used this password before. This means that you should try not to use the same password on multiple sites. Think about it this way – if one of your accounts is hacked, a hacker will very easily be able to use the same password to get into your other accounts and have access to your very sensitive information. If creating new passwords for every account seems too difficult, why not choose to use a reputable password manager instead and enable two-factor authentication on your accounts?
2. Download Trusted Apps Only
“There’s an app for everything these days!” people often say. This could be true. On mobile alone, there are 2.2 million apps available for download on the Apple App Store, with more than 2.8 million available on the Google Play Store. Not all apps are safe to download and install, on your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. Hackers are able to steal your information from apps on your phone, even if the app seems to be harmless and have raving reviews. Many apps have fake reviews in the app store and if you’ve downloaded these apps, there’s a real chance that your phone becomes infected with malware. Look out for telltale signs of malware on your phone such as strange apps that you definitely didn’t download yourself, or your phone sending our emails or texts that you didn’t write.
3. Be Aware of Where You Put Your Personal Data
Your personal data is valuable. There’s an entire industry that makes billions of dollars from selling the personal data that they gain from users who browse the internet. This data ranges from internet users’ behavior to their demographics. The more information about yourself put online, the more vulnerable you become since that data is never 100% safe. A good rule of thumb is to never allow online stores to save your details. In the event of a data breach, which is not uncommon, hackers gain access to that very sensitive, powerful information, and will use it or sell it to others without your knowledge.
4. Use Social Media Responsibly
Our social media profiles are full of personal information about ourselves. This includes our dating app profiles. We regularly post information about ourselves on our social media profiles, sharing our habits, whereabouts, and other personal details which can be a treasure trove for hackers.
The other danger of social media sites is the phenomenon of catfishing. This is when someone pretends that they’re someone else online and can lead to social media users being tricked into giving away sensitive information and even money to the catfish on the other end. Never accept a friend or follow a request from someone you don’t know. If you need to make sure that a person really is who they say they are, plug any details you know about them on Nuwber and see what you can turn up from its database of publicly available information.
5. Back-Up Your Data to an External Drive
It’s become fairly common for most of us to use the cloud to store our information. We back up important digital documents to cloud-based storage, as well as our photos and videos. While it’s convenient, no digital storage platform is safe from hackers or data breaches of any kind. Invest in an external drive and back up all your important files onto that. This way, your data will still be available should there be a data breach on a cloud storage platform, or if you lose access to the account.
6. Keep Your Software Up to Date
To make this easier, ensure that your devices auto-update their operating systems and the apps that you’ve installed. These updates include security patches which help to keep them safer from the ever-evolving methods of identity thieves, hackers, and the like.