How to prevent data leakage: top 10 safety tips every internet user should know
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
News of the last couple of weeks discussed lots of personal data leaks. First, personal information of nearly 50 million Turkish citizens leaked online. Then more than 93.4 million Mexican citizens have had their voter registration details exposed online. Then the elite American dating site “Beautiful People” has been hacked, leaking private and confidential information of nearly 1.1 million members. In addition, recent statistics show 78.2% of Chinese internet users have had personal information leaked, including names, educational histories, home addresses, ID numbers and places of work.
Today we want to talk about basic data security again. We’ve already posted some tips, but you can never get enough of reminders when your personal information is at stake. Consider it’s a quick “security health” check.
1. Turn off geo-location on your smartphone
Of course, geo-location is very useful when you need to get to an unknown place or if you want to exactly remember where that picture was taken. But it also exposes your location to almost every app that asks for it. Our piece of advice: pay attention to the apps that ask to let them track your geo-position. If it’s not Google or Apple maps, maybe you should not allow it. Or, at least, turn it off, when you do not really need the service.
2. Delete cookies
This is no secret that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and other social media track what you are doing online to serve you up personalized ads. Usually, they do it through cookies so deleting your browser’s cookies regularly is a step that will make you closer to online safety and anonymity.
3. Be careful when shopping online
Retailers are notorious for collecting data about you. Think twice before giving out your real phone number and remember to use different logins and passwords for different sites.
If you are not ok with receiving cold calls and spam sms, don’t share your real number. Use services that can help you out with a temporary, untraceable phone numbers to fill out various web forms and keep your personal number private. If the number is required for verification, you will receive an sms on your disposable telephone. Then get rid of it the very moment you are not interested in promotional information from the store.
4. Encrypt the traffic your device sends and receives
Your sensitive information, like passwords, bank info, tax returns, business confidential information, or even your pix from the latest party, should not be sent out, even to your closest friend, without encryption. If you don’t want it to be intercepted. Encrypt your data with VPN Unlimited and be sure no one can make use of it.
5. Don’t connect to Wi-Fi automatically
Change the default setting on your devices so you have to manually select the Wi-Fi network you’re connecting to. Do not forget to turn off your device’s Wi-Fi capabilities when you’re not using it.
You really do need to worry about security when using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Numerous experiments show that stealing your identity is as easy as ABC. Whether it’s a technology big conference, like MWC, or your local coffee shop, turn on VPN Unlimited to browse the web freely and don’t be sorry later.
6. Beware of social engineering
With the latest email protection apps and filters, getting messages into your email is more complicated than ever. 90% of emails are blocked by spam filters, but this is not enough. Some of the emails still get through and users can spot them by seeing unfamiliar names. Another way spam can be delivered to you is through social media networks. Adversaries purchase stolen users’ credentials to gain access to their accounts and start spamming everyone from their friends lists. The moment you receive suspicious message from your Facebook friend, asking to click the link or to send him your password or remind your date of birth, beware his account might have been hacked and used for malicious purposes. Before providing any sensitive information, contact your friend through another channel and make sure it’s he, who reaches out to you.
You might be surprised, but even security experts can be fooled or hacked, so awareness is key.
7. Use effective antivirus software
Download antivirus and anti-malware software from trusted sources, and regularty update it so your device is protected from new virus hackers make up.
Also, stay away from fake antivirus. Its goal is to convince you that you are at high risk of ‘computer infection’ unless you install the essential protection software. As soon as the application is installed, a victim receives a notification that the ‘unknown’ company is willing to clean up the infected computer if he pays $$. Yet, the fake antivirus is the threat itself.
8. Lock down your router
Your wireless router is the first line of defense for your home and office network. Change the basic settings, including administrator login and password. Change the name of your wireless network so your devices don’t always accept connections to similarly named networks and you do not give hackers more of a clue to your router model. Turn off remote administration and make sure your router firmware is up to date.
9. Use more secure lock codes on your devices
The default 4-digit PIN for your smartphone is not very secure. The longer it is, the better. Navigate to the settings and choose a longer thus a more secure password. Do not use the same passcodes for your laptop, tablet and iPhone. If you can’t keep all them in mind, just use a password manager.
10. Regularly check and update security settings
You should regularly update your software and the router firmware. Make sure you clean up app permissions. If you haven’t used the app for more than 6 months, but it still has permission to collect information about your location, friends or contact details, delete it. Or at least update its permissions. Do not forget to check the list of apps, tied with your social channels too.
We hope you already follow these steps. In case you are missing anything, go ahead and protect your personal information. Enjoy a safe, private and secure internet without any limits!