With the internet within easy reach these days whether one is at home, in the office or on the move, people can easily do their tasks and other favorite activities online. However, one need not be too complacent today as people with dark motives particularly hackers are lurking around. This being the case, it is a must for every internet user to be aware of these cyber threats and the steps they can take to protect their personal information online.
Although many websites and social networking sites use the latest encryption technology to protect their visitors and users, people still need to know the ways to maintain their privacy.
Change passwords regularly
The password is a primary consideration when maintaining accounts on social networking sites and other websites where you have signed up. It should be strong enough and not easily remembered. Most sites now prompt users who are signing up whether the passwords they have created are poor or strong. A combination of letters and symbols are most ideal.
It is your responsibility to keep a list of your passwords in a safe place and change them as much as possible on a regular basis. This will prevent any hacking of your accounts. Also, avoid using the same password for several sites.
Limit personal information on social media
Social media users have the freedom to limit the personal information they include in their profiles. As such, one doesn’t need to provide comprehensive information on every site where they have an account. When it comes to address, for example, you can just specify the state or region where you are located instead of putting your house number and street name. For contact numbers, you can provide a fax number or landline if you don’t want to share your mobile number.
Lockdown your computer and mobile devices
It is also best to lockdown your computer and mobile devices. You can set them to require a password when it boots up or even if it wakes from sleep. This will help prevent anybody from using your device including thieves who might get hold of your laptop or smartphone. You can also install an app that will locate your device in the event it gets lost or stolen.
Keep your online activities private
When using social networking sites, do make sure to keep your settings private. This means that only your friends can see what you are doing while you’re online.
On Facebook, you can do this by going to the Privacy Settings and choosing friends only as the option to the question “Who can see my stuff?” Twitter also has an option if you don’t want your tweets public and you don’t want to show your location. It lets a user approve the people who can see your tweets. On Google Plus, it is possible to choose the people you want to interact with and those who can comment on your posts.
Use two-factor verification
Other than simply using passwords, you can also use the two-factor verification on most social networking sites. What this means is after providing your username or email password during login, the site will ask for a special code. This code is normally sent via text message to the user’s mobile phone. This step may be required every time you log in and is considered an effective way of protecting your accounts.
Avoid third-party connections
You may be using third-party apps in certain social networking sites. While they may be helpful to you and your work, you should stay away from those that are not useful and remove those you are no longer using. This way, you avoid the risk of being hacked.
Update your software
Outdated software is vulnerable to viruses and malware the reason why you need to update it on a regular basis. This applies to your operating systems and browsers. And although most software today are capable of updating themselves, it is best to double-check from time to time.