You’d agree that one of the most groundbreaking technologies the world has witnessed is the internet. From its advent officially in 1983 till date, the internet has grown exponentially, causing notable transformations to humans’ everyday living. Today, our world is more or less ruled by Information Technology (IT), which has revolutionized how we live and how various industries render their services. With the widespread availability of mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and high-speed internet connections such as the 5G, the word ‘online’ has become a common term in almost every part of the world. In today’s 21st century, the internet via social media, mobile apps, and various websites has made everyday activities a lot easier – including communication, shopping, healthcare, banking, etc.
India is the country with the second most prominent online market globally – with more than 749 million internet users in 2020. This figure is expected to increase by around 45% in 2025. The primary drive behind the growth of internet usage in India is the easy accessibility of smartphones and other mobile devices. Many Indians can now access various services more conveniently on their phones through the internet, ranging from news, games, shopping, sports events, sports betting, etc. For instance, one can experience the thrills of a cricket match or tournament on their phone from their home or office without being present at the stadium. You can visit https://parimatch.in/en/top-sport-events to know about more sports events in India.
According to Statista, the number of global internet users grew from 1.02 billion in 2005 to 4.9 billion in 2021 – a staggering growth, to say the least. As these numbers continue to grow, tons of highly precious personal information is being passed across the internet daily – making it a goldmine for cybercriminals. Cyber security is as old as the advent of the internet itself as internet users, including businesses and individuals, have always needed to protect themselves from different types of cyber threats and attacks.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet world witnessed a massive surge in the occurrence of cybercrimes up to 600% – making the concept of cybersecurity more critical than ever. Personal information such as birth dates, phone numbers, addresses, and emails in the hands of cyber attackers can result in severe damages such as loss of funds, loss of important data, and risk of blackmailing. Thus, it becomes imperative for internet users to guard themselves against such attacks even as they provide important information when being engaged in online transactions.
In this article, we will explore four ways to protect your personal data from online attackers when using the internet.
Table of Contents
Create strong passwords
This is the most common method to protect your personal data against cyberattacks. When you are creating a password for a device, mobile app, or a website that contains your important data, it is crucial to ensure that you don’t use easy-to-remember words or phrases such as names or date of birth of your spouse or family members, your favourite pet’s name, your address, etc. Creating strong and unique passwords that can’t be easily guessed by cyber attackers helps keep your accounts more secure.
Always remember that the more complicated your password is, the safer your account. Therefore, it is vital to use a mixture of characters, including letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, using the same password across every device and website that contains your info is dangerous as all your accounts can be compromised at once with just a single mistake. A password manager tool is an ideal option to help you create unique passwords for your different accounts and help you keep track of them. You must also be careful not to share these passwords with anyone under any circumstances, and remember to change them occasionally.
Be wary of malicious links and attachments
Cyber attackers are clever and sneaky when it comes to obtaining information illegally online. Their attacks can be in the form of phishing scams via emails composed to look like authorized communications from real sources such as banks. These emails and messages often contain malicious links and attachments which can reveal your personal information if clicked on. Thus, you must avoid opening any email from an unknown source or person. You can also scan messages and emails with anti-malware software to confirm their legitimacy before opening them.
Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks
While public Wi-Fis at cafes and other places are unavoidable sometimes, it is essential to note that these networks are not very secure, and other users of the same network can access your activity with only little effort. Online activities such as important emails, credit card transactions, and online shopping should be done on a secure and protected network to avoid leaking out important information to cybercriminals.
Also, remember to keep your Wi-Fi off when not in use to avoid connecting automatically to unprotected networks. If you must use a public network, it is crucial to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your privacy and keep another party from accessing your personal information.
Do not share important personal information
The easiest and most common but effective method cybercriminals use in obtaining personal information is to merely ask for it. Ensure you keep your intimate details about yourself as private as possible. Avoid oversharing your life details on social media. Also, don’t be too polite by giving out your phone number, address, or email address, as hackers can wreak major havoc in your financial accounts using this information.
The internet is one of the fastest-growing and beneficial technologies of our world, making many life processes easier. However, we must be careful to protect our personal data on online platforms as cyberattacks can result in severe damage. Embracing the methods discussed above will help you avoid falling victim to cybercriminals lurking in the internet space today.