Tips and Tricks

Is Data Privacy Vanishing? Not if YOU do something about it

We all speak in favor of data protection, but what about our actions? Internet users claim to care about their privacy and financial data but, in reality, an alarming number of them fail to take basic measures to secure their bank accounts or digital identity.

Despite fears of being hacked, 30% of Americans reuse their passwords for all their online accounts, as discovered in a recent study by Bitdefender, a pioneer in data privacy.

Almost 30 percent of the interviewees use the same password, on only slightly alter it, for all their accounts. To make matters worse, only 7.2 percent of Americans have enabled two-factor authentication mechanisms to safeguard their online identities. Respondents say they fear they’ll forget passwords if they don’ reuse the same ones.

And that’s only part of the story. One in three US-based computer users don’t use an antivirus solution and, as a result, 46.9 percent said their home devices have been infected with malware, while 7 percent encountered malware infections at work. And 19.2 percent of the study respondents don’t know if their devices have ever been infected.

Poor security practices are also revealed when it comes to connecting to unsecure mobile hotspots. Over 74 of respondents said that they had connected to an untrusted Wi-Fi network at least once, but only 8.5 percent of them have adopted a VPN solution to encrypt mobile traffic.

So, how about reducing the chances of having your data stolen, deleted or used against you in 2015?

Since today is Data Privacy Day, we’ve compiled a list of 10 essential and simple-to-follow rules all Internet users are advised to respect if they want to protect the integrity of their digital belongings. We’re talking about images, email credentials, intimate conversations and most everything else.

  1. Keep your antivirus solution up-to-date to avoid the latest e-threats.
  2. Create strong passwords using a mix of capitals, symbols and numbers. Oh, and keep them to yourself!
  3. Never leave your devices unattended, especially if they’re not locked.
  4. Be careful; think twice before opening attachments or links from suspicious emails.
  5. Make sure your websites are HTTPS-enabled before banking and online shopping.
  6. Back up your data regularly, whether in the cloud or on hardware devices. Accidents do happen!
  7. Use an antivirus with anti-spyware capabilities or install a free adware removal tool to get rid of annoying adware.
  8. Don’t share too much information on social networking sites.
  9. Turn on your Firewall whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
  10. Don’t forget to update all your software, sign in for automatic updates and forget about them.

Are you going the extra mile to secure your private data?

About the author

Alexandra GHEORGHE

Alexandra started writing about IT at the dawn of the decade - when an iPad was an eye-injury patch, we were minus Google+ and we all had Jobs. She has since wielded her background in PR and marketing communications to translate binary code to colorful stories that have been known to wear out readers' mouse scrolls. Alexandra is also a social media enthusiast who 'likes' only what she likes and LOLs only when she laughs out loud.