Online insecurity is an increasingly growing problem for millions of people worldwide. Lots of suspicious sites and even government agencies collect personal information online for their own purpose. Most often this data harvesting is illegal and unauthorized. While most of this affects card transactions, even personal data from social media is often stolen from time to time. There are a number of ways that this personal information is stolen. This includes hacking, phishing, skimming, and malicious emails. Several sources are prime targets for identity theft.

Email

While most email service providers have different levels of security setup, all ‘free’ emails generally tend to be very unsafe and often suspect. Their minimum security features are not adequate in protecting your personal identity. That’s why you should always aim to work with premium email setups. Most custom emails have greater security features and backups. Make sure that your organization has not outsourced its email and IT systems to American firms like Google or Microsoft. While it’s often possible to keep the messages private the metadata that goes with it can be very revealing.

Encryption

There are many articles and general content on your phone and desktop that have your personal profile. Therefore it’s critical to invest in data encryption software for your laptop. Various publicly available tools can be used for data encryption and decryption. The newer version of OS systems come with embedded programs that encrypt the hard drive. There are different levels of encryption depending on the sensitivity of your personal information and the type of threats levels against them. However, most of these encryptions can’t protect you from sophisticated government demands. Most often governments seek this information through court filings.

Web Browsing

Given that this is the most common online activity then you need to take browser security and privacy issues very seriously. You have to invest in a browser that obscures clickstream. You also need to invest in browsers that repel most of those would-be boarders from your site. This will protect you from commercial firms that track your online behavior and blast you with targeted ads based on your browser history. Make sure you review the security features and vulnerabilities of all the browser in the market before settling one. The weaker browsers expose your personal data to breach every time you are online. Apart from this, a high quality VPN also goes a long way in keeping you secure while browsing on the web so its recommended that you invest in one.

File Storage and Archiving

Most of us store our CVs, application letters and automatic signing into several sites that have your personal data. The best way of handling articles and documents with your personal data is to store them in a personal cloud service. Products like Transporter and Pogoplug are the most efficient tools to use in such instance by providing drop-box like facilities. Make sure you only do this on internet connected drives that you control or own. If you have to walk around with confidential personal information, then make sure the storage is encrypted using the publicly available data encryption tools.

Social Networking

The proliferation of social media sites that ask for you identities has left many of us vulnerable. Use as many of the privacy settings made available as possible. However, most social media sites have been known to harvest your data and share with selected third parties. There is little control you have your personal information on social media ever. This includes location data, preferences and the user-generated content. Make sure the data that you use on social media is not an accurate representation of who you are. The disingenuousness is the compromise you must make to protect your personal data.

Personal data safety is an increasingly critical aspect of modern life. The ear of user-generated content has fuelled a heightened measure of self-disclosure that makes us think less of personal safety. However when it comes to personal data, only the paranoid survive. Utilize all the encryption and decryption services available online and offline.