With apps popping up all over the place, people are becoming increasingly dependent on their mobile devices to function. We entrust our personal data to our devices in exchange for the ease of doing things like shopping for clothes online or booking a movie ticket. However, cyber criminals are always preying on people who place too much trust in their devices.

They will try to infiltrate a particular software’s security system to use your personal data to their advantage. This could result in cyber snooping, identity theft, or a maxed-out credit card for items you didn’t even buy. But how can we avoid these instances and protect our online data against cyber threats?

This article will look at the number of ways we can ensure that we keep our personal information safe from unwanted eyes.

The importance of strong passwords

While there’s a tendency to use easy-to-remember combinations for our passwords, it’s important to come up with a strong and unique password to avoid getting hacked. Pankaj Kheriwal recommends choosing passwords that are at least 12 characters long, with a mixture of numbers and punctuation for complexity. Also, make sure to change any default passwords that were set in a factory, like those that come with your Wi-Fi router or other security devices.

Enable multi-factor authentication

Many websites are starting to ask for a mobile number when you sign up for their account. This is because an increasing number of applications now have a feature called two-factor identification, which means that you have to confirm a code sent to your mobile phone before logging into an account. Some banks even give their account holders a physical digital key that generates a code whenever you need to log into your online banking account. IT Pro Portal suggest that you should make multi-factor authentication a regular online habit to make it difficult for cyber criminals to log into your account and steal your data. It may be a hassle but it is a small price to pay to keep your data safe.

Be wary of public networks

When you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection, always remember that anyone who’s nearby and also connected to the same network could potentially access your online activity. If they do this they can see what your computer is sending and receiving across the internet. One way to ensure a safe browsing experience is through using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt all your online traffic and make it difficult for hackers to spy on you. There’s also a free web browser called Tor which was developed to camouflage your browsing activity, ensuring a safe browsing experience.

Learn the basics of cyber security

While there are many steps we can take everyday to protect ourselves, it also helps to be knowledgeable on the topic of cyber security as a whole. A study by the Pew Research Center found that the majority of internet users couldn’t correctly answer more than half of the questions found on a quick test on cyber security. This is unfortunate as cyber security is a threat to everyone who goes online. However, learning about cyber security can be as easy as taking online courses aimed at people who don’t know much about the topic. The detailed cyber security courses on Udemy from respected instructors like Nathan House and Alexander Oni cover a range of tutorials for people with little to no experience in protecting themselves online. These types of online courses will give users an in-depth guide on network security and risk awareness. Much of the information is digestible, and ideal for people with no prior background in computer science. Along with the tips discussed above, learning more about cyber security is another way to keep your online personal information safe.