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Today’s digital advances have been beneficial to the lives of countless millions, but these same advances have made it difficult to keep private information private. Hashtags, geo-targeting, social media profiles, SEO-optimized titles, descriptions, and images make us easy marks to potential privacy invaders.

Think about the recently adopted and updated GDPR policy. What happens when the private details of individuals are stolen and they become vulnerable in the online space? The first way to take action is to delete your personal and professional profiles, clear cookies, and wipe your browsing history. But, maybe it’s better to take precautionary measures by protecting your data online.

1. Establish separate email addresses for priority items.

Some of our top priorities to protect in the online space are our personal reputations and finances. It’s better to play it safe when emailing information about banking details and other valuable documentation. Create a separate email account for banking and important files to better keep them organized and easy to find outside of your regular inbox.

2. Make sure your passwords are unique.

Need some tips for making strong passwords? Here’s what to do.

  • Try to create complicated and long passwords. Follow all instructions given to you, such as adding in numbers or capital letters. Do not use obvious words or numbers, like the names of your children or birth dates.
  • Implement two-factor authentication. These tend to be composed of a random and encrypted set of numbers you have to type out. In case your password is revealed, you have a second hedge for protection.
  • Do not use the same password for everything. Create different passwords for various accounts.
  • Log out of your accounts from time to time, especially if you are temporarily using someone’s computer or accessing yours remotely from another point.

3. Backup your data.

Backup your data either through the cloud or offline. Make it a routine habit to backup your data on a daily or weekly basis.

4. Encrypt your hard drive.

In the event that your device is stolen or illegally accessed, encrypting your hard drive adds an additional layer of protection. Do this for your desktop and mobile devices.

Outside of doing all four of these things to protect your data, make sure every member of your work team and family members have been instructed on how to do it with their devices. They should also have an understanding as to why they’re doing it and why protecting this information on a regular basis matters. We can’t revert any damages to data hacking that may have been already done, but we can prevent what has not happened yet.

Valerie Malecha is one of the content managers for Spokeo – a people search platform helping users know more about the people in their lives through access to social media profiles, phone numbers, marital status, and more.

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