15 tips for staying safe online
Be smart about social media
We hear about social media sites that have been using the data entrusted to them for marketing purposes all the time. So it’s clear that you need to take extra care to protect your private information on social media. Here are some tips:
- Review your privacy settings on social media regularly, as they can change without much notice. It might be best to allow only friends to see your posts. And think twice before you accept friend or follow requests from people you don't know. If you need to use social media for work, create a separate account.
- Don’t share your location. Anything from running routes, travel destinations, or even events you’ll be attending will show others where you are, but above all, that your home is empty.
- Steer clear of social media quizzes, even if they look like fun! They can take you to unsecured sites and make you vulnerable to identity theft or annoying marketing campaigns.
Protect your devices
Just as you’d protect your home or wallet from thieves, you need to protect your personal devices and data from cyber criminals.
- Always use a strong password and PIN on your devices and Wi-Fi network. Make sure your password includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- Protect your PC or laptop from viruses, malware, spyware and other threats with anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall programs. Make sure software updates are done automatically, and that you scan incoming emails for viruses.
- Always check the web address in your browser window. If you don’t see “https” in the URL with a padlock sign beside it, then the website you’re browsing isn’t secure. And remember that your devices and data are vulnerable whenever you use public Wi-Fi.
Shop online safely
When you give personal information online, like your address and credit card number, you become a target for cybercriminals. Shop safely with these tips:
- Only buy online from companies you trust.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi. If you’re shopping with your smartphone, you should rather use your data plan.
- Pay by credit card or PayPal. And always check your credit card statements for unauthorized charges.
- If you bank online, check your account regularly and change your password often.
- Clear your browser cache after banking or shopping online to make sure personal information isn't stored on your computer.
Protect your identity
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada. Here are some tips to protect your privacy and avoid identity theft:
- Don't send personal information by email, like credit card, social insurance or driver’s license numbers. Email is commonly used by hackers to steal sensitive information.
- Use 2-step verification when possible. This adds a layer of security by asking first for a password or user name, and then verifying your identity with a security question or a 1-time code sent by SMS to your phone.
- Don’t click links or attachments from unknown senders. Be extra cautious if you get an unusual email that seem to be from a trusted source, like a financial institution asking for personal information, demanding payments, or offering a refund.
- Never leave your laptop anywhere it could be stolen. And before you discard your computer, clear the hard drive with overwrite software or just have the hard drive destroyed.
Protecting yourself from security threats doesn’t have to be difficult. These simple techniques can go a long way to keeping you safe online.
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15 tips for staying safe online
For most of us, surfing the web, banking online, going on social media and emailing is part of everyday life. But, if you’re not careful, you can put your hard drive and personal info at risk. Follow these tips to secure your devices and stay safe online.
The Personal refers to The Personal General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and The Personal Insurance Company in all other provinces and territories.
The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice. The Personal recommends using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, expert advice.