Keeping passwords, financial, and other personal information safe and protected from outside intruders has been the top priority of not only businesses but also consumers and individuals, therefore using sound practices to keep sensitive personal information safe and secure is becoming more and more popular.
There’s endless information out there for individuals and businesses on protecting their passwords, desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices from malware, hackers, and other kinds of cyber-threats. But there’s so much information on the internet which makes it easy to get confused, particularly if you’re not tech-savvy. Therefore, in this post we have compiled a few simple, straightforward best practices and tips for keeping your personal information private and protecting your devices from threats.
Regularly Check and Configure App Privacy Settings
Most apps offer privacy settings for users, enabling you to determine how much and what types of information are shared or stored. Always choose the least amount of data-sharing possible. Make sure apps you are using are not collecting more data about you and controlling more of your devices than you want.
Also, while configuring a new device or operating system, firstly configure privacy settings. This ensures that you’re not inadvertently sharing sensitive information as you set up your standard apps and services.
Lock Your Smartphone and Tablet Devices
Practically everyone has a smartphone, tablet, or both these days. But not everyone uses a screen lock or other security features to secure their phone. A single mishap can put data on your phone in the hands of someone who will use it maliciously. You can take steps to protect your data in the event of a lost or stolen device, however, begin with locking your device.
Also, configure device’s settings to ensure that your device locks after a short period of time. Most smartphones and tablets allow users to set a specified time frame, after which the device automatically locks if it’s been inactive. This means if a user loses his/her smartphone but it wasn’t locked, it will lock on its own, ideally before a thief obtains it and attempts to access their personal information.
Use Secure Passwords
Passwords can be easily cracked by hackers, particularly if you don’t use sound password-creation practices. The shorter and less complex your password is, the quicker it is for cyber criminals to come up with the correct combination of characters in your password. The best passwords contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Also, you should never use the same password for more than one account or service because if hackers crack your password on one website / account / service, they suddenly have cracked your password for a dozen more. You can create your own password algorithm that makes it simple to remember all your passwords without ever using the same one twice.
Or use “passphrases” rather than “passwords.” A passphrase is a series of random words or a sentence. The more characters your passphrase has, the stronger it is. The advantage is these are much easier to remember and type, but still hard for cyber attackers to hack.
Disable Automatic Uploading
Some devices automatically backup your data to the cloud, and some apps used on smartphones or tablets store information in remote servers. Yes, having a backup of your data is a good thing, but the backup should be accessible only by you or someone you authorize. You can prevent your devices from sharing your personal photos and other information with the cloud for the world to see by disabling automatic backup settings on your device and on individual apps.
Check your phone settings to see what data is being automatically backed up to the cloud, and disable automatic uploading.
Be Mindful of the Messaging Apps You Install
There are new messaging apps entering the market constantly but not all are from trusted sources. It’s best to install a trusted messaging app like Signal and stay with it. The app is maintained and developed by the Signal Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The best reason to use Signal is that it’s open-source. This means that anyone in the world can take a peek at its code and verify that the app is as secure as its makers claim. No other major messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger would ever dream of allowing that.
Unlike other encrypted messaging apps, Signal has no financial motivations. The company is a nonprofit run by privacy advocates who believe that online data shouldn’t just be kept safe from hackers but from the companies too who want to profit from it.
Download the Signal App NOW and keep your personal data safe in 2020.