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Avoiding to exchange personal data online is almost unavoidable.
When we visit a website, make a purchase, book a hotel room, login to our email client, we share important pieces of information leaving digital traces that can be used to get our identity.
Some of us pay little or no attention at all to the data we exchange online.
A few basic precautions can help us keep our identity and details safe while we surf the web. And even if it’s impossible to be 100% safe, we can certainly limit the risks.
Passwords – use long and complex passwords. They should include a combination of upper, lower case alphabets, numbers, special characters. Never use names, birth dates or phone numbers. It would be advisable to use different passwords for each platform you’re using, and change them every six months (especially for banks, credit cards, and email accounts).
A double factor authentication is an excellent solution to use whenever possible. It will require entering the password and another form of authentication too (for example an additional code sent to your smartphone or your email). It will make things harder for hackers.
Public wi-fi – when using a public wi-fi (airports, hotels, restaurants, etc..) it would be much better to avoid entering your credit cards details, passwords or sensitive data. Most of the public wi-fi connections are not secure, and hackers can use specific software to connect to your web traffic, detecting your data (including passwords, credit cards or bank details..). If you absolutely need to access your bank account while away from home, try to use, whenever possible, your smartphone internet connection.
Don’t forget to protect your wi-fi connection at home, modifying the password given by the provider.
Update technology – always upgrade to the most recent operating system version your devices so that security measures are always up to date.
Use the latest antivirus software. It’s critical to protect your PC from viruses and malware that aim to invade our privacy and steal our data.
Let’s use antivirus software provided by well-known and reliable companies. Pay attention to “fake” antivirus applications that send you false notifications informing that your PC safety has been compromised. Never follow their links.
Social Networks – pay attention to what you share and who you share with..
Only accept friendship requests from people you trust. Delete connections you don’t know or trust. Don’t show your sensitive data (address, telephone number, etc.). Check your privacy settings regularly.
Inbox emails – Pay attention to the links and attachments included in the emails you receive, even if the sender is someone you know. Our friend’s account might have been infected, sending out infected messages to all his contacts.
Secure websites – when we make transactions or shop online, let’s do it on secure websites. We can recognize them by their URL. At the beginning, you’ll read HTTPS. It means the website is using an SSL system, a security protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site.
If we follow these basic guidelines and using common sense, we can do a lot to protect our privacy and identity online.
We won’t be 100% safe, but we can drastically reduce the risk to be targeted by hackers.