Digital Hygiene 101
The COVID pandemic continues to be a global health crisis in all our lives. Following a hygiene routine like washing your hands for 20 seconds, wearing a mask, and avoiding crowded areas does reduce the risk of contracting the virus. But with more and more of our lives being shifted to the online domain, how do we protect ourselves from the risks in the digital space?
As we spend more of our time online it’s important that we’re aware of the online security threats that we are vulnerable to. Digital threats like malicious emails, phishing attacks, hacking accounts & private devices, and theft of personal data are constantly present in the landscape which is quickly becoming an extension of ourselves.
But what if we told you that these threats don’t have to be as intimidating. Just like our daily hygiene habits, there are some simple changes you can make to your digital routine that will keep your data and privacy safe. We shall walk you through the basics of how to act smart on the internet and maintain digital hygiene that will keep you protected online.
1. Keep passwords & IDs safe
A good password ensures the safety of our personal data. So it is very important to keep a strong password to ensure your privacy. The use of password managers that generate difficult-to-hack passwords and setting up two-factor authentication can go a long way. Changing your passwords regularly and keeping different passwords for different accounts will add another layer of security in case of data breaches.
2. Be up-to-date on your software
Companies regularly update their software to address security issues so making sure you are up-to-date on the latest version of your applications will strengthen your digital privacy. Make sure to also download the latest version of anti-virus & malware protection from reputable sources. Every few months, uninstall software that you don’t use as often as this can be a point of vulnerability as well.
3. Beware of ‘Phish’y links
All it takes is one click of a shady web link to cause all sorts of cyber security issues, including loss of sensitive data & personal information. So it’s very important to remain vigilant against these phishing attempts. Do not click links from sources you don’t know. If the link is very cryptic or has spelling errors or an extension you don’t recognise, it’s best to avoid clicking these links.
4. Protect your identity online
Companies & websites track a lot more of your data than you realise. Even if you don’t publish private information, just using your browsing habits, a lot is revealed about who you are as a person. This data is then sold to third-party agents to whom you did not consent to give this data. Installing ad blockers, using a trusted virtual private network (VPN), browsing on privacy-centric web browsers like DuckDuckGo can help ensure the safety of your data.
5. Be careful who you provide info to
Do not install apps that don’t have high-quality security measures in place. These apps can be prone to data breaches and can lead to identity theft. Even your phone number can be a potential security vulnerability. If you have to share your number somewhere, you can share your Doosra number which will provide you with an extra layer of security from vendors or solicitors.
Schedule some time towards maintaining your digital hygiene habit. You can always read up more about it but following these simple steps will ensure you are one step ahead when it comes to protecting your privacy on the internet.