Keeping passwords, financial and personal information safe from hackers has been a priority for businesses since we first started using the internet. As threats from hackers constantly loom, it is becoming increasingly critical for both companies and consumers to heed data protection advice. Standard safety practices can greatly improve your safety when using your smartphone and sharing information or making purchases online.
Why Do Hackers Want Your Personal Information?
Criminals want to steal this data from online databases and merchants most often in order to commit identity theft. Two common, lucrative examples are using the victim’s credit card details to purchase online, or to take out loans in their names. There are many examples of online activities which require you to provide a lot of personal information. One good example of an industry that is gaining momentum in recent years, yet managing to battle fraudulent activities successfully is online gambling. Say you want to gain access to all the services offered in an online casino. Before you can do that, you would need to provide them with your complete personal information. “There are countless casino sites out there, but all of them would require more or less the same information from players. This information includes the basics like name, surname, date of birth and address. To play games in an online casino, players, of course, have to deposit money as well. As part of the transaction process, although most often when about to withdraw money, players need to provide financial information along with photocopies of personal identification,a recent utility bill, a payslip or all of the aforesaid. These steps are necessary to adhere to the law and for the casinos to conduct anti-money laundering assessments to fight criminal activities.”, a source in the gambling industry explained. There are many instances online where you share sensitive information every time you purchase something online or sign up for different social media and services, but not all industries are as vigilant when it comes to security and anti fraud measures.
How To Keep Your Personal Information Safe
Below we compiled a top five list of actionable tips you can utilize from today to increase security when using your smartphone.
1. Set Secure Passwords
Update your passwords on the apps and sites you used to make it harder for hackers to breach them. We would suggest that you set a slightly different password for each app or site. That way, if one password is compromised, the hacker won’t have access to all your different accounts.
2. Use Two-factor Authentication
With advanced passwords, hackers can still breach your account even though the risk is minimized. When available, it is good to utilize two-factor authentication. This usually means that you have to also prove your identity in a second way in addition to entering a password. Typically, on smartphones, this would be through an app notification or an email verification.
3. Keep The Device’s OS Up-To-Date
Updates to your phone’s operating system are needed to improve your experience. Normally, it is related to improving performance or security. These updates are generally frequent and can sometimes take a couple of minutes to load, including your device’s restart. Many people tend to disable auto-updates for these reasons. This increases the risk that the phone runs on outdated software. As a result, your phone is vulnerable to new threats and hackers that specifically target outdated OS.
4. Always Connect To Secure Wi-Fi
Let’s admit to something everyone is guilty of, as soon as we sit down in a café or restaurant, we check for Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi can save data from your paid plan, but it is important not to connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. To increase security in Wi-Fi networks, you should always connect using a VPN. Using a VPN means that you can enjoy a secure Wi-Fi connection even when you’re surfing on public networks.
5. Be Selective When Downloading Software
Always download apps from the official app stores. Read the reviews and do some minor research on the publisher just to make sure that the software can be trusted. It is not uncommon that hackers inject malicious software into rogue mobile apps.
Minimizing the risk of using your smartphone is largely related to common sense. If something looks strange, be wary, do not click the link in an email or download a shady app. Do not share your personal information unless you absolutely have to, and you are certain that you are dealing with a serious company.