10 Ways to Protect Personal Information Online

The internet is part of our daily lives and it’s important to know the basics of keeping yourself safe online. Here are ten ways you can ensure that your personal information stays safe while surfing the web.

1. Look for a Secure Web Address

Before shopping online or giving any sort of personal information, look at the URL—if the website is secure connection enabled, it will have an ‘s’ after the ‘http’ portion of the URL. An ‘https’ URL tells you the website has an SSL license, meaning your information is scrambled as it travels across the internet.

2. Don’t Provide Personal Information

A credible website will never need sensitive personal information, like your social security, PIN, or bank account numbers. If a site you don’t trust asks you for anything personal, don’t trust it! It could be a phishing scam trying to gain access to your personal information.

[Read also: Is Hacking an Inside Job?]

3. Create Strong Passwords

Make long passwords with at least eight or more characters. For added security, include punctuation, symbols and a mix of upper and lowercase letters. Don’t ever use the same password for all of your accounts and change them at least once a month.

4. Be Wary of Downloads

Don’t ever download a file from a website you don’t trust. There’re many malicious websites out there which let you download corrupted files with viruses and trojans that can infect your computer and steal your personal information.

5. Check for Site Updates

Credible websites are updated often with security measures. Look around to see when the site was last updated. If it’s been more than a couple of months, you might not trust the site.

[Read also: Sites Where You Are Most Likely to Get Hacked]

6. Look for Contact Information

If you’re thinking about purchasing something from a website, look for the company’s contact information, including a physical address and a telephone number. This information is usually in the website’s footer. Don’t assume that a phone number is real—always call and ask questions to make sure the company is legitimate.

7. Be Careful about Emails

Emails can contain viruses and phishing scams, so don’t click suspicious links or download any files from an unfamiliar email address. If you’re unsure about an email, look at the address—if you don’t recognize it, don’t trust it. Report it as spam and delete immediately. Don’t ever provide personal information like passwords or account numbers to anyone over email.

8. Delete Cookies Often

Cookies are small files designed to track your web activity. When you enter information into a site, such as a user name and password, the site uses cookies to remember your information so you don’t have to enter it the next time you visit. Hackers can use cookies to gain access to your accounts, so you should delete them often. Deleting cookies differs depending on which browser you use, but it’s usually found in your browser’s privacy settings.

9. Install Anti-Virus Programs

There are several anti-virus programs designed to protect you from viruses and spyware and alert you when problems arise.

10. Trust your Instincts

If you ever feel like a site isn’t trustworthy, trust your instincts and exit out of it immediately.

Following these simple steps will protect you while you browse the internet, keeping it a safe and convenient place for you.

[Read also: 3 Reasons You should not Take Online Security for Granted]

So how do you stay safe online? Let us know in the comments.


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