Besides our waistlines showing signs of the dreaded quarantine-15 and a slight loss of sanity, the coronavirus pandemic has also introduced another thing for us to worry about: online safety and security.
With people spending hours on the web and turning to online services for practically everything under the sun, it is an opportune time for hackers and data-stealing malware to run amuck. Consequently, many have been worried about keeping their private data safe and secure and away from those with malicious intentions. However, experts say there are simple steps you can take to minimize the risk and protect your data.
According to Generali Group, one of the world's leading insurance companies, the following steps are easy yet effective measures to safeguard your data.
Back up your data, externally
Though often ignored or postponed, keeping copies of your digital data is one of the simplest and most sensible ways to protect it. Backing up data means that your information and documents will be safe if you were to lose any of your devices, or if they become damaged or stolen. Using an external hard drive, and in particular, one that supports hard drive encryption is a good place to start. It's also a good idea to scan important documents and save them on your computer and hard disk drive (HDD).
Change your passwords, regularly
Your existing passwords must be at least 15 characters long and changed frequently. More importantly, do not keep a note of your password on or near the device you are using.
Keep your birthday and address off the internet
If you have information such as your address or birthday on your social media, know that these can easily be used for malicious purposes. To avoid this risk, try not to declare your birthday or place of residence on online platforms.
Check your camera and Bluetooth, stat
Hackers can actually access your mobile and laptop cameras and record you, even if they are turned off. When your device is not in use, instead of leaving it on sleep mode, turn it off completely, and if looking for a low-tech solution cover it with some black tape. When it comes to Bluetooth, you must exercise more caution as it is a literal open door for pirates, so make sure it is turned off.
Don't use public WiFi
Your Wifi range often extends the boundaries of your house and signals can be picked up from near its perimeters, making them a target for hackers. The best precaution you can take will be to use a password consisting of a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. In addition, always try to avoid using public wireless networks and, if you have to make sure the site addresses start with HTTPS (with an SSL certificate) instead of HTTP.
Use trustworthy antivirus software
Malware, spyware and viruses spell big trouble for many users and devices. The best way to avoid them is to use good antivirus software that will provide reliable anti-malware protection.
Turn on your notifications and alerts
Despite all the precautions you take, fraudsters still may find a way to bypass the measures you take. In such cases, the sooner you discover the threat the better it is for recovery and minimizing further damage. Nowadays, many banks send free notifications and warnings when they detect unusual activities. So call your bank or log in to its app to see if you have your notifications turned on.
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