10
Thanks

A few words of thanks would be greatly appreciated.

How to Protect Your Personal Data

Nowadays, it is essential to protect your personal information. It is often leaked to advertisers, who send you unnecessary ads and spam but even worse than that, it could also be leaked to hackers. This is far more dangerous for your personal security and confidentiality as well as for your computer safety. In this article, we will guide you through the best precautionary measures to protect your data.




Why You Need to Protect Your Personal Data

The issue of cybersecurity on the Web worries many people. In the digital era, it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep your information confidential since everything is stored on cloud servers. Different companies and organisations keep information about our purchases, movements, personal calls, and correspondence to sell it to advertisers.

If your computer, phone, or tablet is poorly protected, then your personal data can be easily stolen by hackers. This in turn, leads to other problems: fraud, illegal operations, blackmailing, as well as severe damage to the device’s operating system and loss of important information. Below, you will find several effective ways to protect your data as much as possible.


How to Improve Your Data Protection

Try the following options to improve your data protection:

Install an Antivirus

Reliable antivirus software is the foundation of your cybersecurity. Install a proven antivirus program to protect yourself from any malware, such as phishing, suspicious programs, spyware, or data fraud. You can try one of the free antivirus software, described in this article.

Use Two-factor Authentication Process

Two-factor authentication is a two-step process when you have to prove your identity to gain access. It adds an extra layer of protection both for you and the software or website that you want to access. Usually, when entering your email or social network, you need to sign in with your login and password. With two-factor authentication, the system can send a one-time confirmation code to your mobile device or ask you a secret question. Some services might become suspicious if you regularly log-in from one part of the world and then suddenly, from the opposite side. This way, you will have to confirm that it’s your identity (if it's you) by submitting a code or other security information.

Since our mailbox is usually most frequently targeted by hackers by stealing information or sending virus links to your acquaintances, we recommend you protect it with two-factor authentication. You can manage your password, and secret information asked when logging-in in security settings for Outlook, Google, Yahoo! and other email services.


Back Up Your Data

Always make a back-up of your essential files and folders, so they are not lost in case of system corruption or infection by hackers. Use USB sticks, external hard drives, cloud storage systems to save some important files in more than one place.

Encrypt Your Data

Encryption prevents any stolen data to be opened, used, or exposed if, for example, someone has stolen your computer. You can encrypt your entire hard drive on Mac or PC in security settings. For PC go to Settings > System > About and scroll down to Device Encryption. For Mac go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault and turn it on. If your PC doesn’t support Device encryption you can download Bitlocker or VeraCrypt software to encrypt your data.

Password-protect Your Documents in Word

In order to restrict access to important or confidential files and folders, you can password-protect them. However, you should always save a file containing the passwords in use, for example, in an Excel sheet or a password manager, so that you don't forget them.

You can password-protect your documents in Word following the following steps. After creating the Word document, click on Tools and select Protect document. In the field labeled Password to open and Password to modify, enter passwords of your choice. If you’d like to remove your personal information from this file, checkmark the Privacy tab.


Other Tips

  • Don't sync your files if it's not necessary: some devices enable cloud syncing for all of your files and photos when you start using it. If you don't want to cloud share some files, adjust your cloud settings.
  • Use strong and unique passwords: try to use different compounded passwords or use a reliable password manager to create difficult passwords and keep track of them. Try 1Password, Bitwarden or Dashlane.
  • Avoid clicking on links sent by strangers: it could be a phishing attack.
  • Update your apps and software regularly: often, the newer updates have improved security features.
  • Adjust privacy settings in your social networks. Often they can be very vulnerable because of the huge amount of personal information open to everyone (such as your parents or pets’ names which are often used as a secret word to recover a password).
  • Try to avoid using public Wi-Fi: there are many free Wi-Fi networks created by hackers to steal your data, and sometimes it's impossible to distinguish good Wi-Fi from a bad and dangerous one.
  • Use a reliable VPN to safely and privately browse the internet. Try Express VPN, NordVPN or SurfShark.


Image: © 123rf.com, Unsplash.com
10
Thanks

A few words of thanks would be greatly appreciated.

Ask a question
CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jean-François Pillou, founder of CCM.net. CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.
Related
This document, titled « How to Protect Your Personal Data », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (ccm.net).

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

The Best of CCM in Your Inbox

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!