Tips on Online Security To Protect Your Information

Everyday tool composition online security
Photographer: Dan Nelson | Source: Unsplash

Here are some tips on online security practices you can start doing today to better protect your information.

Be Aware of Sharing Your Information

Ever wondered why you start getting text messages, phone calls and emails from unknown contacts?

This is probably because you unknowingly shared your contact details with a group or business you were not aware that was selling or sharing your information. This is often common but should not be taken lightly. Keep track of your information and what details you give out. You should only share your important information with people you trust and legitimate businesses who have strict privacy policies.

One great tip is to have two email addresses where one is your most important and the other is a dummy email which you use to register with entities your not sure of.

Unfortunately, you can’t do this with home addresses or phone numbers but only legitimate groups need this information. Remember to verify with whom you receive emails or calls from, as you may have not opted into this knowingly.

Keep Your Email Inbox Clean and Filtered

Make sure your spam filters are turned on as this will prevent any suspicious or malicious emails from getting into your inbox. Spam filters do now ensure that you are safe from unwanted emails and often you may still receive them.

Remember to never open any unassociated emails and never open or download any attachments from unknown emails as this could be malware.

If you receive an email you have doubts about, simply move it to junk or flag it as spam. This helps your spam filter learn which emails are unwanted and which are not. Remember that if you’re flooded with emails from various sources which are cluttering your inbox you can unsubscribe to them.

Another great way of keeping your inboxes clean and organised is by using mail clients which can handle multiple email accounts. Here are some great applications for mail management

  • Gsuite
  • Gmail for Mobile (Available on App Store and Play Store)
  • Airmail (iOS, macOS)
  • Mailbird (Windows)

Beware What You Share on Social Media

We are accustomed to sharing our details on social media as a society these days. However, social media can be accessed by unwanted people who can use this information. Often scammers with try to dig as much personal information as they can from social media to use as leverage for illegal activities.

Refine what you share as people don’t need to know your phone number, your location and your whereabouts. Also, take a minute to consider what information you share about your family and friends as they are also at risk.

Always remember to set your account on private so only people from your follow list or friends list can see your activities. Make use of the privacy settings as you can customise your posts to be only visible to people who you flag as close friends.

A great tip for Instagram users is to have two accounts, where one is for the public which you manage and maintain disclosure of your information and the other is for your private followers who you consider trusted.

Monitor Your Accounts for Suspicious Activities and Transactions

A great tip is to make sure you have alerts set on your email accounts, bank accounts, online payment portals and business accounts. These changes will notify you the moment an instance of an activity is registered on your accounts.

For example, if you access your Google mail form a new or unknown device, you will receive a notification stating the activity.

Image by Micah Singleton

You can do this on most of your accounts and monitoring this can be a great practise for online security.

Protect Your Devices

Your computer and mobile phone is valuable and the information on them is even more valuable. Here are some tips on protecting them:

  • Update your anti-virus, malware, and spyware protection software
  • Turn on and update your firewall
  • Avoid entering personal information or passwords into unsecured websites
  • Avoid using public computers to access your personal information
  • Use a password or PIN
  • Only connecting to secure wireless networks
  • Use a VPN (Virtual private network) to securely surf networks

Here are some applications that you can start using for better online security and privacy protection (Note these applications need to be purchased for maximum features)

Information is Key

Treat your information as if it was money as its value can be extremely high. It may be difficult to implement these practices but once you make it into a habit, it’s as easy as brushing your teeth and you’ll find protecting your information becomes effortless.

Remember to always ask yourself if it is necessary to give out the requested information?

As this could be the defining factor between putting yourself at risk and protecting your information. If you have trouble managing, securing or monitoring your business information or online assets, consult a professional on online security or information management.

Need consultation on online security and information management?

Need secure or tailor-made web applications?

For professional consultation on IT and application development Contact Fonseka Innovations here.

Fonseka Innovations

References

Australian Taxation Office: How to protect yourself

Australian Government Cyber Security Center: Top cybersecurity tips for individuals

Photo credit: Micah Singleton, Android will notify you when new devices access your Google account

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