As we live our lives more and more on the internet, with social media taking over as the most popular form of communication and automated services allowing us to shop, bank, and learn from home, it’s important to think about safety. Many people store important information on their computers or tablets, such as their bank details, their personal identification codes, numbers, and passwords, and their online services. This opens a line of question that we need to think about carefully: is it safe to have your personal data online in any capacity, even if it is just a file on a computer that is linked to the internet.
The Worry Is Real
According to a survey carried out by MyVoucherCodes, 64% of people were concerned “about the intrusion in your life from using the internet and third parties gaining information about you and spying on you”. That means that the majority of people think there could be some risk to their personal data from using the internet, which is very worrying indeed. The real question is whether this fear is grounded in truth or not.
The Safety Basics
There are some things that could make your data more likely to be stolen or used against your intentions, so avoiding these helps to secure it a little more. Viruses are an obvious culprit: never download anything unless you know its source and use anti-virus software from one of the leading companies to keep your device safe. This will prevent a virus from getting to your files, or gaining access to your computer when you are not around. You should also be wary of phishing and scam emails or web pages – if the email address or web address is not exactly right, close it down. Never enter your password until you have checked the site address. Things like poor spelling or a different format to the usual emails are big red flags, though scammers are always getting more sophisticated and coming up with better fakes.
The Safest Methods
Of course, just like in many other areas of life, the very best way to prevent anything bad from happening is by making sure there is no opportunity: don’t store any sensitive information on your computer, make sure to disallow any programme or web page that wants to store your information, and never shop online. You should also make sure to never send personal information via email or post it on the web, even in a private message. This is the only way to be utterly safe – and for many people, the reward may not seem worth it. So long as you are sensible and follow the basics, you should be able to keep your personal information as safe as possible.
Unfortunately, there is never any real way to make sure that your information is not available to third parties. Buying anything online or using a search engine will build up a database of your interests, while you will also find that even in incognito mode, governmental agencies can see your browsing history and thereby determine a lot of personal information about you.