In the digital era, it’s never been easier use someone else’s personal details.
With the internet providing instant access to almost any information you could ask for, identity theft, harassment and other forms of cyber crime are possible for criminals with even a little bit of technical knowledge to target the unprepared or unaware amongst us. Luckily, there are steps you can take to safeguard your personal information.
If you’re accessing the internet wirelessly at home, you can help protect your internet enabled devices and the information stored on them by ensuring that you’re using a wireless router with WPA2 security encryption. WPA2 uses password protection to prevent unauthorised access to your network, preventing people from accessing your personal files and folders or intercepting any information sent over your network, whether it’s personal emails or bank account information. Many wireless routers, like the Belkin Play n600, come with parental controls too, so you can prevent your children from visiting dangerous websites. You should also invest in a good shredder, to destroy personal documents that come through in the post or that you’ve printed out but no longer need. The Fellowes Powershred 60cs will dice documents into tiny pieces, and even destroy old credit cards
Investing in a security package for your tablet or smartphone will help keep you and your contacts safe. We recommend Norton Mobile Security, which will prevent you from visiting harmful sites and help you remotely lock and even locate lost phones, so that criminals can’t access any information you have stored on them. You should also utilise a password, PIN or pattern when locking your phone, to add an extra layer of protection. It’s also worth investing in an encrypted USB drive if you tend to take sensitive digital information with you and plug it into other people’s machines. The SanDisk Cruzer Force includes SanDisk SecureAccess software which lets you protect your files with passwords.
You should always be careful of the sites you visit and the information you provide to various sites, including social networks. Once something has appeared online, there’s no telling who’s seen it and made a copy of it, making it impossible to know whether something has been permanently removed. Utilise privacy settings as much as possible - a savvy hacker can get all the information they need from just a few of your details, while changing your password regularly is a good way to ensure private information remains just that. Try to come up with something easy to remember without being too personal - you should never use dates of birth or names. Instead, try abbreviating a favourite saying to include a combination of at least 8 numbers and letters in both upper and lower case. For example, ‘Woke up on the wrong side of bed’ could become ‘Wu0tWS0B’.
You should also invest in some security software to prevent viruses and hackers from gaining access to your system. Norton Security includes antivirus protection and a firewall for up to 10 devices, across Windows, Mac, Android and iOS operating systems.