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Everyday Habits That Make You Vulnerable Online

The internet is the most powerful knowledge resource in the world, which is essential to run our day-to-day life. We need the internet to stay connected with our friends, family, work, and entertainment every single day.

Using the internet is also risky as disclosing your personal information might lead hackers and identity thieves to use your data to perform various illegal activities. While it is impossible to prevent all the online threats, we can develop certain habits, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to steal our data.

Realization and Awareness

Developing awareness about online data breaches and data protection is the first step in protecting personal data. List out all your online habits that might have a negative effect on your data privacy and analyze how risky they are when it comes to personal data loss, unwanted data disclosure, or identity theft. It is necessary to list down all the daily habits and take adequate steps to alter them and make your data more secure online.

Top 5 Habits That Make You Vulnerable Online

  1. Sharing your social media access codes with your friends or family. Also avoid oversharing your family details, holiday details, and the costly things you purchased on social media. Do not disclose private information regarding your job, hobbies, and personal interests should be kept private.
  2. Downloading various apps on a smartphone without reading or checking the privacy policy and allowing them to control your mobile contacts and email. It is not wise to click “Allow” on all the popups when you download the app, and there is a button called “Deny,” which should get used more often. Make sure to read privacy policies before accepting them. Yes, they are long and boring, but at least you’ll know how the app handles your data.
  3. Using public Wi-Fi to do online banking transactions, read your medical records, or do important things like checking your insurance details. Avoid using public Wi-Fi and rely on mobile data. If you have to turn to public Wi-Fi, use a VPN also.
  4. Not using 2FA. Always enable two-factor authentication, which has a tremendous impact on your online security and privacy. The hackers cannot use your credit card details even if they steal them without the OTP (one-time password) you receive on your mobile device.
  5. Each day there are new and exciting ways popping up to connect like Clubhouse, Telegram, and numerous other new apps. Downloading each one of them and sharing your details on them is a mistake. Use only reputable apps with over a million downloads to ensure it is not duplicated and doesn’t steal your data or spread malware into your smartphone. Apps track your activities, so download only the ones you truly need.

Effective Password Protection

Using strong passwords  and an efficient password manager that you can find at psono.com is the first thing you can do to protect your personal data online. Passwords are like digital keys which protect your online security. Be very careful in creating them, managing them, and never share them with unknown sources.

Never use the same password for multiple sites or services. If your password gets stolen on one particular site, the hackers will likely try it on all other accounts you have. If the password matches, they get access to numerous other services too.

Create complex passwords that are very hard to crack using the password manager and assign different passwords for every service you use. It is very tempting to log in with Google to all the internet services. But security experts strictly warn you against doing that and suggest creating a separate passcode for all your frequent online usage platforms.

Beware of Spam

Always be vigilant of possible snoopers or hackers trying to pry into your personal information. Understand the potential threats to your online privacy and how hackers can use every piece of personal information you give out unintentionally against you.

Avoid sharing personal details carelessly and think twice before giving your data to any new shopping website or social media platform. If you feel the information you are disclosing may be used against you to compromise your privacy or security, avoid doing so.

For example, you get a phone call stating it is from your bank, and it asks you to share your bank account number and social security number. The bank will already have these details and never ask its customers to give out such information randomly. Thus you can understand that those are scammers calling you.

Do not share your information with them if you feel such calls, messages, or emails are illegitimate. Ask the name of the person on the call and what company they work for. Check their name on Nuwber immediately to see whether they are legitimate people or are using a fake identity. Call the customer service of the claimed service directly and clear your doubts. Do not believe threats that say

  • your card will get seized within 10 minutes or
  •  your bank account will be frozen or
  • you are involved in an IRS scam and will get arrested unless you disclose your details in a particular form.

Spammers use such means to collect your personal data by threatening and intimidating you. Take a breath and remember that government agencies never rush but take the proper time to resolve the issues.

Security Software

Always keep your system protected with the most high-end security software available on the market. Use paid emails for work and official emails for handling bank, medical and insurance data. Back up and encrypt your data to ensure you do not lose it even if the system is locked in ransomware attacks.

Online Shopping Alert

Avoid using actual data on online shopping sites and use a Google burner phone number instead of giving out your original one. Set all your preferences to private on Amazon and other shopping websites. Use credit card masking or encryption software while paying through them.

Conclusion

Every day, new ways to attack personal data get created because of the way we use online technology. Suppose you are not aware of staying secure while using the internet every day, shopping online, or looking at social media sites, you are exposing yourself to a million dangers. Make sure that you don’t fall victim to those by taking some time to learn what problematic online habits might be hazardous to your safety.

ABHIYAN
the authorABHIYAN
Abhiyan Chhetri is a cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Abhiyan is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.

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