In this digital world, it might feel as though little can be done to prevent attacks on personal information. As technology becomes more and more sophisticated, so have attempts to use it to steal people’s personal information online.
Cyber-criminals are one of several examples of how technology is used to steal personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. But there are best practices you can use to secure sensitive information online.
- BE AWARE OF WHERE YOU’RE GIVING YOUR INFORMATION:
One of the most important practices you can implement is being aware of what you do with your information online.
While this seems obvious, many people are unaware of the dangers that lurk behind web interfaces.
It’s important that internet users ensure that anytime you’re inputting your information to someone or something, it’s a reputable entity; you have be sure that you are accessing the entity’s official website or email.
How can I tell if the website I’m using is secure?
There is a key difference between HTTP and HTTPS. “SSL provides a secure channel between two machines or devices operating over the internet or an internal network. One common example is when SSL is used to secure internet communication which turns a website’s address from HTTP to HTTPS, the ‘S’ standing for ‘secure’.”
For websites that implement SSL, any data transmitted between server and browser during a user’s session interacting with the site is secured.
Likewise, phone numbers and emails can be imitated, so if you are ever unsure about the person you are sending information to, look up the entity on the internet, find their number, and call them to confirm.
Your information is valuable and the best way to keep it safe is to be very cautious when giving it out.
- Create Passwords That Are Strong:
Once you do hand your information over to others online, ensure that your passwords are strong and not reused. Reused emails and passwords make it easy for criminals to gain access to your accounts and information.
In this article about encrypted traffic, we learn that one of the easiest ways to increase the protection of your personal information is by creating strong passwords. Typically, the following rules should be applied to your password(s) for good measure:
- 3 or 4 characters
- at least 8 character
- a mixture of lower case letters, capitals, numbers, and a special character like an exclamation mark
There are also many password managers and tools available to make strong passwords that are not reused and these can be very beneficial to keeping your information secure.
For a list of free password management resources, check out this article on PC Mag.
Also, when given the opportunity, one should always use two factor authentication so you are notified whenever someone tries to gain access to your account.
Kenny Dockham, IT