The average American spends around 24 hours every week on the internet. That amounts to around three-and-a-half hours every day. Add that to the time spent working on computers and playing video games and you understand just how much we are online. Any internet-connected device means you’re online if you’re using it, whether connected to Spectrum Internet Plans or mobile data. In some cases, even if you’re not using it. Knowing how much time we spend online, we should also know how to protect ourselves. The internet is a big, bad place with shady people just waiting to steal your data and harm you. This blog explores 5 simple steps to help secure your data.
How to Secure Your Data Online
The internet is indispensable. We just can’t do without it. But it still makes sense to have some measure of security while you’re using it. Here are 5 ways to do this without interfering with your internet routine:
- Use passcodes on your devices
- Use strong and distinct passwords
- Review your social media privacy settings
- Avoid free Wi-Fi services
- Always sign out of unused accounts
Let’s quickly take a brief look at each tip.
Use Passcodes on Your Devices
Our phones have a lot of information about us. Imagine if you lost it, left it at the mall or dropped it in your Uber. You would lose all that data. More serious, an unprotected phone means anyone can unlock it and access all your data. This means access to your bank information, email, social media accounts, pictures, videos and anything else on your phone. Scary thought, right? Someone with that much information on you can steal your identity and get you into trouble. So how do you protect yourself from that? Simply use a passcode on all your devices. Fingerprint locks on newer devices are also a great way to secure your device. Make sure your phone, laptop, and even desktop are passcode protected.
Use Strong and Distinct Passwords
Never use the same password for multiple accounts. Having the same password for all your online accounts is very risky. If one account is hacked or compromised, potentially all accounts are at risk. Data breaches occur with alarming regularity. So don’t make it easier for hackers to do any more damage to you by using the same password for everything. But what if you have many accounts and can’t remember that many passwords? Use a password manager app that stores all your passwords, so you only have to remember the password to that app.
Review Your Social Media Privacy Settings
Social media is a feeding ground for hackers. So you must be very careful about what information you are sharing on your social media accounts. Now would be a good time to review your privacy settings. The fewer the people who can see the stuff you share the better. There are many social media platforms out there, like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Make sure you know what your privacy settings are on each platform. This is even more important if you have kids who use social media. You need to review their privacy settings right away. You should also speak with them about the dangers of social media and the internet. Your kids should know how to use these platforms safely.
Avoid Free Wi-Fi Services
Free Wi-Fi is usually very hard to resist. After all, everyone wants to save on data, and Wi-Fi at the coffee shop sounds great. But is it safe? Public Wi-Fi networks are usually severely lacking in security. That means anyone who knows how can snoop on you while on the same network. Still, want to check your bank account or make online purchases while sipping your coffee? I didn’t think so. Avoid free Wi-Fi networks as a rule. But if you absolutely have to use one, be sure to use a VPN.
Always Sign Out of Unused Accounts
Take a second and remember all the places you have accessed your personal online accounts from. At work, at an internet café, on a public computer, your college library and more. Now try to remember which ones you are sure you closed or signed out of. A breach could mean hackers gaining access to these accounts. You don’t want your bank or healthcare information sitting on a public computer. Make it a habit to sign out of all accounts you use on devices that don’t belong to you. Otherwise, you could end up paying for a Spectrum double play subscription you never signed up for.