Protect Your Personal Data; Tips for Your Online Security

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Laila Afifa

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  • Personal data illustration. ANTARA/shutterstock

    Personal data illustration. ANTARA/shutterstock

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Appeals to ‘work from home’ and the enactment of the Large Scale Social Restriction (PSBB) policy necessary in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, have resulted in a majority of Indonesian now relying on the internet more than ever.

    Work, commercial, and recreational activities are now utilizing the internet in providing their services. With your increased time in surfing the web as you shop for groceries in e-commerce or join a video conference with friends; traces of your digital footprints are equally on the rise. From the additional accounts you have, and other personal data you might put online; extra measures need to be taken in maintaining your online safety.

    Tempo has compiled a number of tips from Google security tips to ensure the safety of your personal data online.

    1. Strong and unique passwords

    Creating a strong and unique password that only you know is the first and most essential way for you to increase your online security. Although a bit old fashioned, hackers might try to extract personal data out of your accounts by simply trying a range of popular passwords. Avoid passwords, such as ‘123456’ or ‘password’. You might think you were creative, but you are essentially putting yourself in danger.

    Adopt a combination of characters and numbers, you can even throw in a combination of upper and lower case characters that, although cryptic, means something that you will not forget. In addition, it will be best for you to try to make it at least eight characters; the longer it is, the harder it is to guess. 

    If you want to take it a step further, avoid a master password; have a different password for all your accounts. This way, you avoid the risk of compromising all your accounts, if one was hacked.

    1. Regularly update software and application

    With your mobile device or your laptop, be sure to frequently check for the latest updates in your device’s software, such as for your web browser, operating system, plugins, and document editors. 

    Routine software updates help to keep your device from being susceptible to online security threats. In addition, software updates also help to optimize the performance of your device by making sure that you are running the latest version of the software.

    In terms of your application, you can also check for regular updates. However, with the number of applications you probably have downloaded on your phone, you could be prone to security threats for being logged in multiple platforms. Go through the applications on your phone and uninstall the ones you do not find to be relevant, while also looking out for potentially harmful ones.

    1. Avoid fishy links or downloads

    More than ever, you probably find yourself in Whatsapp groups that would endlessly share with you seemingly helpful links. As good as their intention might be, you need to be aware of these potentially harmful links, and the phishing attempts that may underlie them. Phishing is an attempt to ‘fish’ for your personal data, by scamming you to reveal them yourselves or by hacking.

    In the case of dubious links, be critical of websites that require you to log in for access, or for download links that you find out of place. Although the website may seem legit and well designed, it could be a hacker’s attempt in trying to access your device. Essentially, it is best to avoid clicking on links you do not really need. In addition, a good rule of thumb in weeding out safe websites from the fishy ones is by making sure the website you are on has a URL that starts with ‘https.’

    1. Watch out for impersonators

    As you connect yourself with your social circle online on messaging platforms or through emails, you need to watch out for suspicious messages. If you find an email from a relative you know, urgently asking for money or other forms of aid; be wary that they might just be hacked by impersonators. Think bank when you receive a call saying that your relative is in the police office and needs phone credit; those impersonators have now updated their modus operandi and migrated online.

    In addition to asking for money, another common scheme used by impersonators in attempting to extract your personal data is by claiming that you can win an award by revealing your personal data, such as your passwords, bank account or credit card numbers, or even your birthday. Never reveal your personal information in scenarios you feel too good to be true; in most situations, it is.

    DIO SUHENDA | GOOGLE