It's Data Privacy Day, so we're here to give you 10 tips to keeping your computer safe, secure, and totally private. Nothing is worse than having your computer hacked into, your personal information stolen, or becoming a victim of fraud. We've rounded up all of our best tech advice to help keep your computer protected and free from hacker malice. If you haven't implemented these 10 tidbits yet, today is the perfect day to begin to take charge of your computer's safety.
- Avoid fraud: Be wary of emails, calls, and log-in screens that ask you to verify all of your information. Always air on the side of precaution when sharing more sensitive information like banking passwords. If a company reaches out to you (rather than you personally reaching out to them), don't give your personal information out. Redial the number or email the company using the information posted on their website.
- Set up a hack-proof password: When logging in to websites, come up with difficult and different passwords for each site, using a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols. Change it every couple of months for additional safety.
- Double-check your firewall: Most computers have a built-in firewall that protects your computer by stopping hackers and malicious software from accessing your computer via the Internet. Make sure to keep your firewall setting on, and you could even customize what websites, domains, and IP addresses you want to access from your computer.
- Forget about free public WiFi: Hackers often create fake networks, titling them "Free Public WiFi" in hopes of stealing your personal data. Even if the WiFi is legit, it's still dangerous to access private information in an unsecured network. Always opt to pay the small fee for a service that requires you to log-in to an official network.
- Safely search for celebrities: Googling your favorite celebrities can be a dangerous business if you don't recognize the sites you are clicking on. Many Google results of famous celebrity names lead to infecting your PC with malware and viruses.
See more tips to better privacy.
- Protect your smart phone: Create a password to access your phone so you can protect financial records, passwords, and email in the chance that your phone is lost or stolen.
- Shop safely online: Keep yourself protected by using just one credit card to make all of your online purchases. Not only do credit card companies offer protection against fraud, it will also be easier for you to track all of your expenses.
- Keep things private on Facebook: To avoid hackers and strangers from publicly posting your photos and info, make sure you understand your Facebook privacy settings.
- Clear tracking cookies: Keep Facebook from tracking your website history by clearing your cookies often.
- Use parental controls: Most sites won't let kids create user names until they are 13, but talk to your kids about internet safety and set parental controls on your browsers.
- Check for "https": Especially when shopping, look for HTTPS sites. The extra "s" signifies a secure network.