Data security is a relatively new field and one that the majority of us need to learn more about. It turns out that while government information is of great interest to hackers and cyber thieves, the average person’s data is also intriguing. It’s hard to believe that simple personal pieces of information can be used in fraud to earn people a crazy amount of money, but they can. Not only can our data be used in criminal activity, but it also contains private and personal information we might not want to share. The following will explore some of the things that you can do to help protect your data while you’re browsing the internet, interacting with your social circle, and shopping online.

Of course, it’s important to note that if you feel you’ve been particularly targeted, if you’ve had experiences online that have left you feeling unsafe, or you have any reason to suspect that your data might have been tampered with, reach out to the local authorities. Cybercrime is still a crime.

Who Needs To Think About Securing Their Online Data?

You might be wondering if this article applies to you. It almost certainly does. If you’ve ever filed your taxes, gone to the doctor, made a phone call, interacted with anything on a social media platform, used smartphone GPS, or worn a fitness tracker, you have data out in the ether. This is data that people can mine and use to accomplish heinous ends.

Rethink Your Search Engines

This is one of the biggest ways you can protect yourself without having to alter pretty much anything in your day-to-day life. Most search engines collect your data under the guise of wanting to be better at predicting advertisements. They’re also selling this data to organizations that use it to do everything from sell you things to sway your opinion in political elections. It might be tricky at first to adjust to a new search engine if you have years of habits built around another one. If you’re struggling, just remember what it was like when you switched phones—at first, none of the buttons were in the right space, but months later, you can do pretty much anything you need to without looking. It takes a week or so to get in the habit of a new search engine.

Understand Who Has Access To Your Digital Storage

Cloud storage services are all the rage because they take up no space on your device. Instead, the images, videos, music, and documents you want to hold onto are kept in a virtual cloud. Typically, this is done without your knowledge until you realize that the cloud you’re granted for free is full, and you need to pay to upgrade it and have more storage space. Yes, it can seem convenient at first, but hackers know there is precious information floating in the digital clouds. Research Google Drive security or the encryption standards of whichever cloud service you’re using. This can help you determine what you’ll keep on the cloud and what you’ll keep stored elsewhere. You might even want to seek out alternatives to the standard cloud storage options.

Consider Your Communication Lines

The messages, phone calls, and video calls you send might not be as private as you’d like to think. The communications you’re having with friends and family members might be accessed, read, and interpreted as data that can help companies better predict your behavior and sway your impression in their favor. Take some time to figure out whether your messages are actually private. Most people decide to go with a secure communication app like Signal after learning about what is actually going on with their messages.

Look Into A VPN

A VPN is a great tool to help all aspects of your online security. Basically, the VPN is what tells everything on the internet that is asking (and make no mistake, most things on the internet are asking) where you are. Any device you have can be given another VPN that misleads hackers and those prying about your location. For example, the device this article is being written on thinks we’re in Denmark. We’re not in Denmark.

The above tips and tricks are an excellent way to begin protecting your precious data. Of course, the more you read into the details of data rights and data privacy, the more you’re going to understand how your habits and practices can be tweaked to keep you safer. Each person has specific ways they put themselves at risk depending on their online behavior. Keep educating yourself and keep updating your habits to suit what you’ve learned.

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