Once you’ve known the use of computers, gadgets like tablets, phones, and laptops, expect that you are already exposed to hackers. Hackers might be a person that has a fraudulent intent or a program like Malware (Malicious software) that can stay on your device for a long time and can access your personal information. Because right now, you have already given your personal data may be to a site or used to have a personal e-mail address, social media like Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo mail, Gmail or any site that needs your personal data for some identification and verification process.

A personal data is information about you like your full name, birthday, or age, address, bank accounts, or any information about you. The identifying and verifying of information whenever you signed up on a website is what we call the Data processing. It is anything that is done with the data, the gathering, ordering or arranging, storing, making it secured to transport, or even disposing of when it is not needed anymore. When there is data processing, there is also Data Controller, which is usually social media, sites that has your personal data and decide on how your data will be processed and what happens to it.

There is also Data Processor that can identify your personal data, they should know what happens to the data. All these processes must be covered by data protection principle. It has something to do with sending you a privacy notice which tells you how your personal data will be used and asking for your consent to use it.

Sharing your personal data means your rights to privacy are at risk. The vulnerability of getting hacked is possible, like stealing identity or even for some marketing purposes. However, there are some methods that can protect your personal data from stealth.

Here are some of the tips that can help you protect your personal data while socializing

1. Use a Strong Password.  This is like the “dog of the house”. These are always required on every social media sites and e-mail sites that you signed up. However, you must be aware also that there are passwords cracking program that can access like a thousand accounts using only word-finding programs.  However, we can avoid this by this helpful list:

  •  Don’t use a word from the dictionary. Using a strong password like a mixture of letters, uppercase or lowercase, symbols, and numbers. 
  • Or rather, you can use what we call as the “Passphrases”, this is a password also but it is much longer. This can be a lyric in a song, your favorite phrase in a book or movie that is easy for you to remember and then combine it with numbers or characters.
  • Use a separate password for your bank accounts.
  •  Use a password tool like lastpass.com that saves your “ALL” password in one place where you can keep a track of your passwords. It is using a “Bank-Level” encryption, it cannot decrypt because they don’t really save your master password. Master password is the password for your access on lastpass.com.
  • Never share passwords, passphrases, and master password and keep them private.

2. Manage your e-mail address. Especially email adds that you connected with your social media accounts. Stay informed with the news feeds. And make a separate password and never use it in any account.

3. Type URL Directly on Browser. To avoid phishing attacks and scams, type the URL directly and bookmarked it. You can also use a web-checking tool which is the safeweb.norton.com to be sure that you’re accessing a legit and safe site.

4. Be Selective. With every friend request, you have to be selective and accept only the once you recognize. It won’t be bad to stay safe and not accept all the requests. You wouldn’t want a stranger in your home, it’s that simple

5. Don’t risk it all. It is not ideal to expose every detail of yourself.

  • Location. Don’t tell the world where you are every time.
  • Home-address. For rubbers or anyone with bad intent.
  • Phone numbers. Ideally don’t post this.

6. Use a lock code on your mobile devices. It can protect the highly personal data on the phone, including social media accounts and email accounts, private messages, contact information, and even mobile banking data. The data on your phone is more valuable than on your desktop computer, partly because it has the more recent information.

7. Backup your Data. This is a very basic data protection method with a simple purpose of being able to restore data in case of data loss. You can store your duplicate data best in an external hard drive so that you can easily access your data once your original device gets compromised. There is also another way of backing up your data and that is by using Cloud. Unlike data storage hardware, Cloud is accessible anytime, it is an online storage and archiving of your files provided by Google.

8. Anti-malware protection. You must use security software to protect your computer or mobile device from viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, scareware and more. This is a tool to help you search for, protect, and dispose of personal information stored on your computer, file shares, or external media.

   Use a firewall. It is a system designed to protect your private network from any unauthorized access. You can have hardware or software or both. This will examine all the messages that will pass through the intranet where you are connected and block those that do not meet the specified security criteria. Windows and Mac OS X have their built-in firewall in the operating system.

9. Secure your wireless network at your home or business. Anyone within range can potentially connect to your wireless access points, you should take extra security precautions when setting up your home wireless network. We have to secure our wireless network from internet hackers within the proximity. Whether they only want a free internet or free wifi access without your permission, still that is your private property, you are paying for it. Enlisted here are some of the methods that can protect your wireless network:

  •    One step for protecting your wireless network is set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID).
  •   Protect the access to the router with a strong password or passphrase.
  •    And also set up a strong password on the administrator access to the setup and configuration settings. Though not all network providers have this feature if you’re using a network with these features then you should put an administrator password.
  •   Disabling the remote administration or the WLAN administrator and security is a good thing. Other network providers feature the administrator of router available anywhere on the internet and anyone connected to the Internet could conceivably gain administrative access to your router and network.
  •    Use WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) this is an encryption type that is most secure and will work across all the devices you need to connect.
  •        Never trust an open network, simple as the free wifi access on your favorite coffee shop. You don’t know who is using that network. Maybe one of them is a hacker.

10. Authentication. This method is with the use of your phone. You make the devices enable to use by logging in your account. In this method, it is not possible to log into the account into a new computer until you allowed the device to be used. There is a code that is sent to your phone number to authenticate the new device you used in logging in. Some mobile phones have these features already.

11. Encrypt everything and route through Tor. Though Tor offers a slower browsing, it is still one of the best tools when it comes to anonymity. You have your communications encrypted. Used this to exchange emails or chat with your contacts. This tool can hide you, though not perfect it is close to hiding you from hackers and keeping you safe.

12. Use a VPN. This tool can disguise your home internet provider when you installed the software directly to your router. The use of Tor is widely used but many governments and ISPs eyes with suspicion on this tool. So, to hide your activity with Tor while keeping the anonymity features, use it with the VPN installed in your router and ISP won’t see that you’re using Tor. They’ll just see the IP of your VPN server, and a connection that looks like an ordinary encrypted browsing session.

13. Don’t click on links. Identify your messages and see where it came from. Don’t click on links that are sent from an unknown entity or people on your email or messenger.

14. Don’t forget Log out and turn off. This is the best method to stop someone from hacking any information. When done using your accounts be sure to always log out, especially when you opened your accounts to a public network. Gadgets or computers or routers when not in used or maybe after using make it as a routine to it turn off. Other connecting application like Bluetooth must be turned off also when not in use.

Before giving personal information, we must be aware of what information we are about to give and how important it is and how secure it is. Assess what could happen if you lost it or most probably got into the wrong hands. And make sure you have adequate precautions in place to protect your personal information.