5 Best Steps to Protecting your personal data online in 2018

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Searching for the best steps to protecting your personal data online? We got you covered.

In this article, are the most easy, fast and best steps to protecting your personal data online. We also present examples cited from the quarter of 2017 till 2018.

So there has been a lot of scare from companies to individuals on how best they can stay safe. The bigger companies are looking for the best tools and infrastructures in place to combat small and even bigger threats like Ransomware. But what does a regular digital user like you who just has a laptop and your windows, android or apple device need to do in protecting your personal data online.

Now these steps are no assurance people won’t try to attack you online. Not at all. What this article justifies is, if that attack would be successful or not. The decision and success/failure rate lies in your ability to practice these steps religiously.

In 2017 alone, statistics revealed that over 40 percent of users online where attacked through phishing, smishing, adware’s, and card data theft. Big companies like Yahoo, Uber where not left out of the picture as they both reported breaches which left millions of customer data leaked to the public.

But you might be asking? How do i know if i have been attacked or Hacked.

There are lots of common non-stealthy (intrusive) and revealing signs that shows if a user has been hacked. For example not being able to login into any account or website, Finding some applications, files, or programs running on the laptop or phone that wasn’t installed, Emails that wasn’t sent by you, Log-ins from unknown devices and locations, Unknown Transactions, etc.

But the very good hackers might likely hack you without being noticed.

Enough of the talking.

Let’s present to you the 5 best steps to protecting your personal data online for Windows, ioS, and Android devices in 2018.

Lock down your E-mail

A large percentage of threats would come through emails. Often times we hear ‘the weakest link in security remains the human’. That’s because humans are triggered by emotions, feeling, empathy, reactions, desires, want, etc. So cyber criminals come in many guises through the email. The common method that criminals use is known as ‘phishing’. Phishing involves the fraudulent practice of sending emails to innocent people so they can reveal personal information. Some examples include though not limited to Bank notifications, Scholarship opening, Surveys, Job Interviews, Online Shopping Promotions, and a lot more. The images below show some of the phising attacks in Nigeria for 2017.

protecting your data phishing emails

 

How to Identify a Phishing Email

If you look really closely, you would notice that sometimes they are easy to identify.
1. Hover your cursor to the Name of sender and click to reveal the true email id. For mobile devices clicking on the email id and searching on Google reveals who the person is and if it’s a scam.

2. There are usually lot’s of typographical and grammatical errors. Because these criminals are pretending to be who they are not, they usually type in a hurry and mix up their words. and are usually quite easy to identify – if you know where to look. Check out the sender’s e-mail address. Typically, the name displayed will be of the trusted organization, but the e-mail address from which it sent will be quite clearly not them. Never respond to these phishing e-mails, by replying you are confirming to the sender that they have a legitimate e-mail address.

protecting your data from phishing

3. There is always a request in the body or at the end of the letter. The kind of requests included are usually things that require you to take action. For example they would ask for personal data, ask you to click on a link, ask you to fill a form, etc.

Use Complex Passwords

In 2017 over 81% of data breaches where caused by weak passwords. Don’t let the stats scare you, but the honest truth is you need to Make your passwords as complex as possible.

Here are things you shouldn’t do when it comes to Passwords.

  1. Never use the name your name of your child or partner.
  2. Avoid using your date of birth.
  3. Do not include your favorite food or favorite restaurant or city.
  4. Don’t use pet names or anything that can be found on Google.
  5. Never share your password with anyone.
  6. Don’t stick passwords on your computer.

protecting your data using strong passwords

Now here are some things you should do .

  1. Use a password manager to generate, store and manage over a thousand password. (it is my recommendation that you don’t generate a password with the password manager but create one yourself).
  2. Ensure that each account you own has a separate password.
  3. Make sure your password has one or all of these: 8-16 characters, unique phrases (use a native language if you can), upper+lower+special characters,etc.

Never Ignore Security Updates

Software security updates are regularly distributed by service providers. They are released as new threats and viruses are identified, and failing to update these devices means they are not protected by the latest security versions of the software. While it is okay to think that the update is only to introduce cool features, and fix cosmetic bugs, the reality is that the updates contain essential security fixes that have been coded to protect you, the user.

5 Best Steps to Protecting your personal data online (2018)

The information that you provide a lot of websites and apps is enough for hackers to exploit you for their benefit. Think about what you sign up for and the information that you are providing. It is usually advisable that you create a seperate email that you can use to sign up for non important communications like newsletters, competitions, forums, etc.

Always Update your devices as and when requested to, and choose passwords that are complex to make life as hard as possible for the scammers.

Use 2-Factor Authentication

Right now just having a username and password doesn’t count as protecting your account. That’s because hackers have always found a way to byepas these logins that are not securely protected. But thank goodness we have several options now. One of those options are 2-Factor authentications and multi-factor authentication.

With two factor authentication often referred to as two-step verification, it provides a process in which the user provides two authentication factors to verify they are who they say they are. For example something the user knows like:

  1. A password, PIN or shared secret.
  2. An ID card, security token or a smartphone.
  3. Fingerprints, face and voice.

   Enabling 2 Factor Authentication

Using two factor authentication is easy to enable. Some of the most common sites and applications alread use it. They include Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twillo, Skype, telegram, Whatsapp, Slack and a bunch of others. For a full list of website and application supporting 2FA visit https://twofactorauth.org. All you need to do is visit the site or app. Go to settings and you’d find it.

Review your Social Media Privacy Settings

Hackers and cyber-criminals can collect a large amount of data from you through your social media profiles. Be sure that you check all your privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and be careful about what you share. You don’t want to reveal too much that will assist criminals that want to steal either your data or your personal belongings by breaking into your house while on vacation, as one example.

Only set posts to be seen by people that are not authorized to view them. Do not automatically share locations of sensitive places like house, or favorite spots on social media.

Social Media Privacy Settings for Twitter

With twitter privacy settings, enable your settings to control who views your tweets, photo tags, and message settings.

Social Media Privacy Settings for Instagram

With Instagram being one of the most popular apps, and used by diverse set of  people. It is also the best attraction to hackers who would like to take over that account for malicious purposes. In 2017 Selena Gomez instagram account was hacked alongside a bunch of other celebrity accounts. Sometimes the best alternative is to stay hidden, which is having a private instagram page. That way you only accept requests from people you know. Here’s how to switch to a private profile. 

 

How to Disable New Instagram activity status settings

With the new feature on instagram that enables users know who is active on any of the instagram function. What better time to activate privacy settings than now. Here’s how to disable active status on Instagram for January 2018.

  1. Open your Instagram App
  2. Go to your profile
  3. Go to Settings
  4. Scroll down and turn off show activity status below. With this turned off,accounts you follow and message won’t be able to see when you were last active on Instagram apps. And you wont be able to see other accounts activity status as well.

 

Settings to disable new instagram active status

After  Disabling Instagram Active Status  settings

 

Social Media Privacy Settings for Facebook

Social Media Privacy Settings for Whatsapp

Whatsapp’s privacy settings by default makes a user vulnerable to cyber stalkers and even cyber attacks. To change that default settings, make sure your profile photo and status is only visible to your contacts.

protecting your data whatsapp

Social Media Privacy Settings for Snapchat

protecting your data snapchat

Well there you go. That’s basically all we have for the 5 Best Steps to Protecting your personal data online in 2018. We know there are lot’s of steps and great tips out there. Feel free to share some of your best tips on protecting your personal data down in the comments 🙂

 

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