How to protect your data from breaches

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

 

 

It’s scary to learn that someone is lurking and stalking your data—even while you are playing an online game, paying online or doing anything online.

 

 

 

Massive data breaches, marketers tracking your every step online, shady people exploring the photos you share in social networks, these are just a few of the annoyances that can happen to you.  But there is a way to beat this.

 

 

 

Kaspersky Lab—realizing that Filipinos love to share or go online for almost anything—gave a list of ten steps to prevent such breaches:

 

 

 

1.Check social privacy settings. If you have social accounts, those networks have a lot of information about you and you might be surprised how much of it is visible to anybody on the Internet by default. That’s why Kaspersky Lab strongly recommends you check your privacy settings: It’s up to you to decide what info you want to share with complete strangers versus your friends — or even nobody but you. Change your social network account privacy settings.

 

 

 

2. Don’t use public storages for private information. Oversharing is not limited to social networks. Don’t use online services that are meant for sharing information to store your private data. For example, Google Docs isn’t an ideal place to store a list of passwords, and Dropbox is not the best venue for your passport scans unless they are kept in an encrypted archive. Don’t use services meant for sharing to store your private data.

 

 

 

3. Evade tracking.  When you visit a website, your browser discloses a bunch of stuff about you and your surfing history. Marketers use that information to profile you and target you with ads. Incognito mode can’t really prevent such tracking. You need to use special tools. Use Private Browsing in Kaspersky Internet Security to avoid Internet tracking.

 

 

 

4. Keep your main e-mail address and phone number private. Tons of spam in your e-mail inbox and hundreds of robocalls on your phone. Even if you can’t avoid sharing this info with Internet services and online stores, don’t share it with random people on social networks. And consider creating a separate, disposable e-mail address and, if possible, a separate phone number for these cases. Create an additional e-mail account and purchase an additional SIM card to use for online shopping and other situations that require sharing your data with strangers.

 

 

 

5. Use messaging apps with end-to-end encryption.  Most modern messaging apps use encryption, but in many cases it’s what they call encryption in transit — messages are decrypted on the provider’s side and stored on its servers. What if someone hacks those servers? Don’t take that risk — chose end-to-end encryption — that way, even the messaging service provider can’t see your conversations. Use a messaging app with end-to-end encryption like WhatsApp.

 

 

 

Note that by default, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Google Allo do not use end-to-end encryption. To enable it, manually start a secret chat.

 


6. Use secure passwords. Using weak passwords to protect your private information is as good as shouting that information to passersby. It’s nearly impossible to memorize long and unique passwords for all the services you use, but with a password manager you can memorize just one master password. Use long (12 characters and more) passwords everywhere; Use a different password for each service or use a Kaspersky Password manager to make using secure passwords easier.

 

 

 

7. Review permissions for mobile apps and browser extensions. Mobile apps prompt you to give them permissions to access contacts or files in device storage, and to use the camera, microphone, geolocation, and so on. Some really cannot work without these permissions, but some use this information to profile you for marketing (and worse). Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to control which apps are given which permissions. The same stands for browser extensions, which also have unfortunate spying tendencies. Do not install browser extensions unless you really need them. Carefully check the permissions you give them.

 

8. Secure your phone and computer with passwords or passcodes. Our computers and phones store a lot of data we’d rather keep private, so protect them with passwords. These passwords don’t have to be complicated and unique, but they should keep random people out. On mobile devices, do a bit better: six-digit PINs or actual passwords rather than four digits and screen-lock patterns. For devices that support biometric authentication — whether fingerprint reading or face unlock — that’s generally good but remember that these technologies have limitations. Use passwords or biometric authentication to lock your phones, tablets, and computers.

 

 

 

9. Disable lock screen notifications. Protect your phone with a long, secure password, but never leave notifications on the lock screen as any passerby can see your business. To keep that information from appearing on the locked screen, set up notifications correctly. Disable lock-screen notifications or hide sensitive information from the lock screen.

 

 

 

10. Stay private on public wifi networks that do not usually encrypt traffic, and that means anyone on the same network can try to snoop on your traffic. Avoid transmitting any sensitive data — logins, passwords, credit card data, and so forth — over public Wi-Fi, and use a VPN to encrypt your data and protect it from prying eyes.

 

 

 

Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company, which has been operating in the market for over 20 years. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into next generation security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them.

 

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