How to keep personal information safe online

People use the internet for every facet of their lives; to stay in touch with friends, book holidays, run businesses, find new jobs, complete grocery shoppings, you name it.

As a result of this, a large share of our personal information is required meaning that personal details, such as our name and address as well a sour financial information may be at stake if we do not protect ourselves enough.

Keeping your personal information safe online is easy, by following a few simple procedures, you can help to ensure that your details are safe from any fraudsters.

>See also: The death of the password in the authentication age

Everyone has asked themselves, “just how good is my password” and this is just the first step. Although you may think you have created a secure password, the likelihood is
that it’s not as secure as you anticipate.

If your password is a common name or word, then it may be wise to change it. Your password should never be simple “password”, or “qwerty” and on a similar note, it should never have personal significance to you, so your name, spouse’s name, or even the name of your pet is a no go. Your birthdate is never a wise choice either and whilst it is a good idea to have numbers within your password, “1234567” or “4321” are also no goes.

The simple rule of thumb for a strong password should be that it is over six characters and contains a mixture of lower and upper case letters as well as numbers and special characters.

However, don’t simply just repeat the end character to bump up the length of your password as this is not recommended. Admittedly, “f0oTballllll” is a lot stronger than “f0oTball” but it’s better to pad your password.

>See also: How much control do IT executives have over password security?

Padding your password means placing special characters and numbers at the beginning and end, so rather than “football9!”, use “9!Football9!”, this is still relativelyeasy to remember and will take hackers months, if not years longer to crack, and by this time you will have already changed your password numerous times.

You should change your password every 60-90 days to maximise the security of your personal information on the net. Never use the same password for all of your social media, e-mail and financial accounts and always keep your passwords separate.

On your PC itself, install one of the many reputable anti-virus programmes available, see this recommended McAfee antivirus expert review for an example. This will help to protect your device against malicious software that may be trying to make its way onto your system.

>See also: Password ignorance will lead to cyber attacks 

The programme will run system scans and alert you of any malware so you can follow the correct steps to eradicate it from your PC.

To minimise the risk of malware trying to make its way onto your device, don’t respond to any harmful e-mails, nor should you follow any links or open any attachments. Always check out the sender’s address if you’re unsure and if you do have qualms, simply delete the e-mail.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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