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5 Cyber Security Tips For Keeping Your Data Safe

The internet has connected the world for decades. People do everything from dating to shopping to organizing protests online. With the ease of connecting people globally, there also comes the risk of hackers and scammers who want to steal your personal data.

Whether you’re a business person, a college student, or a human rights activist like Mohamed Soltan, it’s vital to make sure you keep your data secure when engaging with others online.

Here are five cyber security tips to help you stay safe online.

1. Keep Your Passwords Secure

Password requirements are complex for a reason: To keep your account and data secure. Even though it is sometimes frustrating to try to remember a dozen different unique passwords, using a unique password for each account you have is a security feature you don’t want to skip. A password management tool or app can significantly help keep track of all those passwords, securely, so your data remains safe.

2. Keep Your Systems Up To Date

Security updates are regularly released for browsers, computers, phones, and other devices — be sure you are updating your technology when patches or updates are released so you have the most up-to-date security features.

3. Keep Your Data Backed Up

In the event your equipment experiences a hardware crash — a phone bricking up, a laptop dying unexpectedly — you don’t want to lose important data. If your computer is compromised by a virus and needs a factory reset, you don’t want to lose all your files in the process. Backing up your data, both locally on an external drive, and with cloud platforms is important so you can access your data when you need it.

4. Keep A VPN Ready

If you have to use public wifi networks, or you are traveling, make sure you have a VPN installed on your laptop or phone so you can safely get online without compromising your data or personal information. A Virtual Private Network encrypts your data so no one can spy on your or hack your passwords, data, or other sensitive information while you are online.

5. Keep An Eye Out For Phishing Scams

Scams continually get more complex as scammers evolve their techniques to steal personal data and money from unsuspecting people. The good news is, that most scams are easy to spot if you know what to look for. Watch for unusual spelling or typos. Always check the URL or any link before you click it — you can hover your cursor over a link to see the URL. If you get emails or texts supposedly from your bank or financial institution, never click links or respond with a request for information. Always call your bank directly to confirm any “alerts.” Scammers often work on the principle of making their scam sound urgent, but don’t be fooled — there is always time to confirm by yourself before doing anything.

Staying safe online is important for everyone, and with a few basic precautions, you can go about your life and keep your data safe while you’re on the internet.