20 May 2014

#VIEWPOINT: 5 Ways to Protect Your Data and Privacy

In the age of the NSA and sophisticated computer hackers both domestic and foreign, it's getting harder and harder to keep your data safe and secure. If you're concerned about maintaining your privacy, but you can't live without your bevy of electronics, read on for 5 easy ways to protect your data and your privacy.
1.) Turn electronics off when not in use. Your computer and cell phone can easily be a window for hackers or the government to spy on you. Close that window by turning off electronics, closing covers and putting them away. Whether you put your computer in a drawer, a closet or a computer bag, getting it shut down, closed and out of the same space as you will prevent anyone that does hack into the system from seeing or hearing anything. 
2.) Only visit sites you know and trust. Hackers that aren't associated with the government get access to your computer by putting a small virus or spyware program on your system. When you click on a suspicious link, visit a page that's infected or download a file that has an embed virus, you open your computer to a variety of hackers that can manipulate your computer's camera and microphone to hear and see what you're saying and doing. 
3.) Periodically run a virus and spyware scan. It's a good idea to periodically run a spyware and virus scan on your computer to identify and eliminate any malicious infections before the people behind the programs have a chance to access your computer or phone. There's a variety of free spyware and virus detection software available on the internet, so you should never have to choose between security and your budget. 
4.) Change your password regularly. You know you're supposed to change your password regularly, but do you actually do it? If you have a hard time remembering, set up a reminder on your calendar so you change your password every couple of months. Make it easy and cycle through a series of 4 or so passwords. Take this tip one step further by using multiple passwords for different sites. After all, you don't want it too easy for a hacker to gain access to your email, your Facebook and your bank account all at once, do you? 
5.) Avoid putting your personal information into forms online. While you may like to enter every sweepstakes under the sun, giving out your name, address and email to anyone that asks for it is asking for trouble. You may inadvertently be handing a hacker your personal information while downloading a virus at the same time. Only enter information on sites that you know and trust and never click a link through an email.
Common sense will get you far when it comes to protecting your data and privacy. Knowing how you're vulnerable and taking steps to correct it is the best way to keep yourself safe in the digital age.

By Daisy Binx - More articles by Daisy Binx

Daisy is a personal security expert interested in helping others achieve privacy online and in their own homes. Get the tools you need to protect your privacy at Privacy Patches. Read about us and learn what inspired the creation of Privacy Patches!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Daisy_Binx
Image credit: By EFF (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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