Browsing the internet, connecting to wifi hotspots and scrolling through social media is a daily occurrence for many, but doesn’t come without risks.
If your personal data is not secure and is stolen by hackers, it can be used for illegal activity, such as applying for loans or credit cards in your name. It could also result in your bank accounts being accessed and money being withdrawn.
How can I keep my personal data safe?
There are certain things you can do to keep personal data stored on devices safe, according to insurance provider, Insurance2go.
Be cautious when using public wifi
Public networks often don’t provide a secure connection, which can make it easy for hackers to use them to access personal data. Hackers targeting public wifi hotspots can intercept financial information, passwords and log in information through a public network.
You should always avoid using mobile banking apps or making online purchases when logged onto a public wifi network.
Those who are using public wifi can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app, which can protect data from getting into the wrong hands by encrypting online data and keeping personal information secure.
Turn off ‘sharing’ settings when not in use
Smartphone features that share a location should always be turned off when not in use. Bluetooth, wifi, location services, mobile data and Near Field Communication (NFC) are all susceptible to hacking.
Hackers can get hold of personal information and data easily through features that mark a phone as ‘visible’. Always make sure to disable these features when they are not being used.
Only download legitimate apps
Downloading illegitimate apps can open your personal data up to hackers. Apps hosted on some websites or third party app stores can often contain malware and can therefore access data once downloaded.
It is recommended that users only download apps from the official app stores, including the App Store for iOS users and Google Play for Android users.
Be wary of app permissions
When an app is first downloaded, it often asks for ‘permission’ to access certain features or information held on a mobile phone, including the camera roll, microphone, your location or phone contact list.
However, you should be cautious of what information an app is requesting access to and whether the app actually needs that information. For example, a photo editing app doesn’t need contact list information in order to function, so take the time to think about whether the information is needed or not.
Avoid using auto-login
Although it’s recommended to have a variety of passwords for online accounts rather than using the same password, auto-login gives hackers easy access to personal data by simply opening up an app or webpage.
For those who are likely to forget multiple passwords, note them down in a secure, password protected note on a phone, or in a notebook that is kept secure and stored away.