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3 ways to stop it being easy to steal your data

Cyber-security, not so long ago it was totally sufficient to download the trial version of whichever anti-virus came top of the first Google search page. Nowadays we are literally in a world where people are stealing data, encrypting it, and then holding a digital ransom for the decryption key! Obviously this can come across as a little bit like space-age piracy, but these are the times that many firms are facing, and it is also happening to consumers.

Aside from almost £3bn in annual losses from cyber crime, firms are also reporting almost $4bn in loss of productivity since the WannaCry ransomware attacks. Security has since been ‘upped’ by businesses, but do you do enough as a consumer to protect yourself online? Here are 3 tips to tighten your digital security.

Using DOBs for passcodes is not OK

Even with thumbprint and facial recognition technology now being introduced into the smartphone world, typically the memorable numeric way that many people choose to encrypt their digital devices with is the date of birth of themselves or a loved one. But if you’re not covering yourself properly online, then you will often be providing this information to many without realising.

Do you make a Facebook status for your mum’s birthday? Your brother or sister’s? Any family member? Perhaps it’s not a status, but a Tweet, or an Instagram collage, a Snapchat story, even changing your little status bar on WhatsApp. You hopefully get the idea.

There is now such an inundation of social media on the average person’s life that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep your digital privacy airtight. Therefore cover all bases – even if an individual has access to your relatives dates of births it doesn’t matter, as your numeric passcode is something completely different anyway.

Geotagging everywhere you go can be dangerous

It is the habit of most, but do you really want each of your moves to be documented and tracked? After a short time somebody could predict the times you’re not home, or use your locations as evidence when answering fraudulent bank security questions.

OK a bit of an extreme, but your location has become a valuable piece of information, so choose the places you wish to share, rather than just sharing everything.

Encrypt your hard-drive on your PC or laptop

Having a password to log in to either your desktop PC or personal laptop can stop people from logging in to your system. But if your laptop was stolen, the data on your hard-drive can be physically removed from the unit, and most information on it is accessible to anybody who spends £10 or less for a ‘caddy’.

Encrypting your hard drive with a separate password to your login can potentially prevent this from happening, as the encryption on your information will be doubled.

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