The Basics Of Online Security: Protecting Your Personal Information

what is cybersecurity

We live in a digital age, and almost every aspect of our life is intertwined with the internet. According to the World Bank, more than 60% of the global population uses the internet. We use the internet to communicate, stay up-to-date with current affairs, solve problems, manage our finances, and work. One of the downsides of using the internet is that your personal data is always at risk of being stolen.

There are a number of times when you let your guard down online. For instance, use a public Wi-Fi network at your local coffee shop or restaurant. If you aren’t well aware of what is cybersecurity, you will demonstrate negligence, causing your sensitive data to end up in fraudsters’ hands. Here are some practices you must adopt to protect your personal information from threat actors.

Use Complex Passwords

You should avoid setting passwords that are easy to guess. For instance, avoid selecting your date of birth or your pet’s name as your password. Instead, choose a random alphanumeric password. Ensure your password mixes numbers, upper and lower case alphabets, and special characters.

Avoid setting the same password for different online accounts. Instead, choose different passwords. If you find it difficult to remember passwords, use an online password management tool.

Limit What Your Share On Social Media

When using social media, make sure to accept friend requests only from people that you actually know. For your public posts, avoid tagging the location. Online criminals might monitor your daily patterns of behavior, which may threaten your physical safety.

When sharing pictures, ensure you don’t post your address, credit card details, driver’s license, or passport information. If this information ends up in the wrong hands, you might become a victim of identity theft.

Be Aware of Scams

In most cases, scammers aim to steal your financial details and medical records. This information is sold in the black market for large sums of cash. Therefore, you should be vigilant when sharing sensitive information online.

One of the most common techniques is phishing, in which scammers trick you into clicking a link that downloads a harmful program into your system. This program can steal all your personal information. Other techniques you should look out for include ransomware, investment scams, romance scams, government impersonation scams, and fake prize scams.


Once your device is infected by this malicious program, it will prevent your access to the personal information stored on the hard disk. This is done by blocking the system or encrypting the user’s files. The attackers will ask for a large sum of money to allow you to regain access to the files. You may end up losing your entire data because of this attack.

Investment scams

In this scam, the scammers will offer you lucrative investment strategies. They try to gain your trust by showing you fake testimonials. Your finance details, including your social security number and credit card details, might end up in the wrong hands if you don’t take enough care.

Romance scams

You should be extra vigilant when using social media and dating apps. In this type of scam, cybercriminals will create a fake profile and establish a relationship with you. To build trust, they will share fictional details about themselves. Once a certain comfort level is achieved, you might end up sharing sensitive information with the attackers.

Government impersonation schemes

In this type of scam, the attackers pretend to represent any government agency, such as the IRS, Medicare, or the Social Security Administration (SSA). They will make up different stories to make you tell them your sensitive information. You should never give out any of your personal details over the phone or email.

Fake prize scams

In this type of scam, you might receive an email from a fake contest or lottery. They will tell you that you’ve won a large sum of money. If you end up trusting them, they will ask you to share your personal and credit card details to cover the cost of “shipping” or “registration fees.”

Use Multifactor Authentication

Besides setting a strong password, you can use multifactor authentication for a second layer of protection. Enabling this security feature will require you to provide two or more credentials to log in to your account. By doing so, you’ll get a verification code on your phone or email after you enter the correct password. Once you enter this passcode, you’ll get access to your account. Besides a passcode, you must provide other details, including a scan of your fingerprint, face, or retina. This will make it much harder for scammers to get into your online accounts and steal your personal data.

Regularly Update Your Software

Cyberattacks are constantly evolving since criminals always find vulnerabilities within the antivirus software. Ensure that your computer’s operating system and antivirus software are regularly updated to counter this issue.

Secure Your Network

The network you use is a connection point between your device and the internet. Therefore, it is crucial to protect your home network. You may use a firewall to control internet traffic. When using a private network, it is recommended that you use a virtual private network or VPN. This will help you encrypt your internet traffic and makes it impossible for anyone to track your location and IP details.