In the wake of the data scandal that has rocked Facebook to its core, people are once again coming to understand just how valuable personal data is. Passwords, financial and personal information has huge value for cybercriminals who could use, manipulate or sell said data for personal gain. Keeping your data safe and under lock and key is therefore imperative for practising safe internet usage. This applies whether you’re a private internet user concerned about your data privacy, or a business that deals with sensitive data and customer information.
Changing your attitude about the way you look at data is the first step to becoming more secure. But on top of that, there are other more quantifiable measures you can take.
Get an SSL certificate if you don’t have one already
If you’re a small business owner that relies on your website to facilitate the sale of goods or simply to store your customers’ data, then you’re going to want to ensure that you have an SSL certificate. What’s more, your store is likely to rank higher on Google if it has one. Many sites will already have an SSL certificate, as today’s website providers offer them with their web packages. However, if you don’t have one you can generally pick them up from a web provider without too much hassle. An SSL certificate encrypts the communications and transmitted data on a site, making it much more difficult to intercept or steal valuable data.
Change your passwords regularly
While this might be considered a pain – after all, remembering even a handful of different passwords can be difficult – it’s an absolute necessity. Changing your passwords regularly makes them that much harder to crack. And on the off chance that they have been compromised, changing them will guarantee that all your systems are once again secure. This will ensure that your data is that much harder to access without authorisation.
Beware of search engines
Criminals aren’t the only threat to your data. The other might be the unlikeliest of enemies: the corporations you trust your data with. Search engines such as Google often use data for tracking and marketing purposes. Everything you search for is categorised and added to a list which is basically a personalised profile that shows your search history and tendencies. If you’d like to avoid this, opt for search engines that don’t track your enquires such as Duck Duck Go.
Alternatively, you could opt for using a Virtual Private Network, which reroutes your IP address to somewhere else in the world to give the appearance that you’re searching from a different location. This will also make your searches difficult to track and categorize.