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Blogs > Lifestyle Blog > How to Keep Your Personal Data Safe Online

How to Keep Your Personal Data Safe Online

28th January 2020

The Internet has made life easier in many respects, but while there are lots of positive things that have been brought about in the digital age, it has also meant people need to look after their personal data more than ever. Here’s how to keep your data safe online when you shop, use social media and browse. 

Check Whether You Have Had Your Details Breached

Most people who have signed up for some sort of service online could potentially already have been affected by a breach. For example, the British Airways data breach saw the details of 400,000 passengers stolen in a cyber-attack, with many people having their bank card details stolen, which led to wide-scale fraud. If you know you have been a victim of such attacks, then you can take action, whether it’s joining a lawsuit or simply keeping a close eye on your back accounts. Check the website haveibeenpwned.com to see whether your e-mail address is among those that have been compromised. 

Don’t Click on e-Mail Links or Download Attachments

Some of the biggest ‘hacks’ you’ve heard about in the news have been very low-tech. Someone sends you an e-mail saying that your Facebook, Amazon or bank account is locked, and that you need to click a link to fill in your details. This is known as phishing and it’s one of the most common e-mail scams around. By the time you realise your mistake, the scammer could have accessed your account. Stay safe by never clicking links in e-mails, and instead visit the site by entering the details in the address bar. If you have accidentally given your details away, change your password right away and contact the organisation for advice.

Use Unique Passwords

Because a lot of data breaches have involved passwords, if you use the same password on every site, then a scammer could break into your account. Hackers will often try old passwords and information found in breaches to try and enter random bank accounts, so make sure you use a different password for each site. 

Keep Software Up to Date

While it may be annoying to turn on your laptop and see that you need yet another software update, running these updates is important to protect your personal information. They often include patches to fix vulnerabilities that have recently been found, so always make sure you are running the latest version of Windows or whatever operating system you are using. 

Only Shop on Sites You Trust

Many scammers lure people in by setting up shops with prices that are too good to be true. They then collect money and your personal data, subsequently deleting the shop and disappearing. Be alert when you are shopping online. If you see something expensive at a ridiculously low price but you don’t recognise the shop’s name, then it’s likely to be a scam. Also, check you are using a website with an address that starts with ‘https’, and that there’s a padlock in the corner of the screen before you enter any payment or personal details. This will ensure you only shop with secure sites. 

Posted by Mark at 8:17am

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