Going online has become a regular routine for a lot of people. We check our emails, surf the internet and purchase goods. In all of these activities you receive, send and share information, a lot of them could be considered as personal information that can be considered sensitive. Unfortunately, information that goes through the internet is not always safe. There are many unscrupulous scams and malicious software out there whose sole purpose is to steal this personal information. Identity and information theft is a very real danger. Here are measures you can take to prevent it from happening to you.
One of the most common mistakes people make is providing all the possible personal information they have and putting it online. The best thing you can do to prevent vital information from falling into the wrong hands is by actually limiting the amount of personal information that you share through the internet. This is one of the most effective tips you should follow. By only sharing limited information online, even if someone manages to access your information, they won’t be able to make much use for it. You can limit information by not completely filling out online forms. If the information being asked is optional then don’t give an answer. If you can get away with using aliases or pseudonyms then do so.
Protection against identity theft should start at home. This means turning your computer’s firewall on. A firewall prevents the unauthorized access to your computer and the information contained inside and thus it is a good line of defense against intrusions into your computer. Always turn your firewall on.
Aside from the firewall, antivirus software can also help protect your computer. Antivirus software can weed out malware and Trojans that are designed to enter your computer and mine information. To make sure that your antivirus software is effectively protecting your computer make sure that the virus definitions are always up to date. This is easily done by simply clicking on the update button found in all antivirus software.
Auto-fill is a useful feature but it is a bad feature if you want to protect your data because it memorizes the information you input on forms and text boxes. Never use auto fill if you are going to use a public computer or if you’re sharing a computer with other people.
Cookies are automatically downloaded to your computer whenever you visit web sites. Unfortunately, there are some cookies that store information about you and this is one of the files that are sought whenever someone breaks into a computer. To protect yourself, remove these cookies. You can opt to make this step automatic by using a web browser that has different privacy settings.
Also read our article on how to pick strong internet passwords
Photo from britannica.com and software like Tor which can protect your Internet privacy.