As the world goes online, protecting personal and financial information is increasingly becoming difficult. There are many hackers  who see an opportunity to cause harm to others in the online space. Billions of people have fallen into online scams, having their data breached and cyber-attacks that have compromised their online data. With banks and other financial institutions keep up with the digital age, protecting personal data is therefore important for every online user.

Sometimes, preventing an online attack may seem next to impossible. To prevent being caught off guard, there are ways in which consumers can prevent being victims of cyber-attacks on themselves as well as their loved ones. Consumers can take up the role through the following ways;

Update Software and Security

Devices with no genuine antivirus and have a software that hasn’t been updated, are prone to being hacked by suspicious individuals. When your device is not secured, a hacker may target you by offering alternative security options which are scams. This scams can enable the individual to hack your system that can easily lead to a disclosure of all your personal and financial information. Always ensure your device is up to date since these applications always come with updated versions of fixing software defects and protecting you from the latest threat.

Personal Information is Personal

Personal information includes your credit/debit card numbers, and bank account information. These are the easiest avenues for criminals to steal from you without a trace. Only share this information on trusted, encrypted websites that protect your information. The ‘https’ at the beginning of the web address presents a secure website, especially those you are required to input your personal information. Do not risk sharing personal information with a website you do not trust.

Create Stronger Passwords

One way to protect yourself from online criminals is by using strong passwords. This is your first line of defence against an attack. Longer passwords comprising of characters, symbols and numbers will protect your information compared to short number or letter only passwords. Avoid using common words, names, or phrases that are can be easily hacked by computer systems. For extra protection on passwords, consumers can also enable two-factor authentication or use an encrypted password manager.

Dispose Wisely

What happens when consumers buy new devices? In most cases one will forget to erase all the data contained in the old device before disposing it or giving it to someone else. Always clean everything including the hard drive to prevent anyone from getting access to your personal and financial information.

Teach children about computer security

Children, just like adults, need to understand the basics and importance of cyber security from an early age. This is because, they are more susceptible to attacks due to of lack of experience and the technical know how to protect themselves online. Before using the online space, it is therefore paramount to ensure children, especially teenagers do not get in the wrong side of online criminals. They should be advised on why they should not share personal information online, how to create strong passwords and be watchful of online offers that are not genuine.

Safe Social Media Interactions

Children are at a high risk of being targeted by criminals because of how they choose to share their daily lives online. One can easily know where a teenager is and at what time just by their status updates. In most cases, they do not realize the long term effects and consequences of sharing everything online. Children should be taught that the internet does not forget and everything they showcase online will be there forever. It also places them at risk of being kidnapped by criminals. There should be rules on what they post online and the websites they are allowed to visit.

Parental controls

Parents can never be too sure whether their children will follow the set rules. They can add extra security by using parental controls on general home devices. These tools are useful in blocking and filtering content the children may try to access or share online.

As we continue to advance in information and technology, it is important to note cyber-security and the internet is constantly evolving and changing. We should therefore stay informed and adapt to new online threats to ensure we are always secure and not caught unprepared.

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