Not many people think about the security of their data. It’s just not something that’s drilled into our heads like the lesson of not talking to strangers on the Internet (thanks, social media). Data security is very important because, if compromised, it can affect your reputation and possibly your future opportunities. Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure the security of your data. In this article, I want to share with you 5 ways in which you can ensure the security of your data.
Tor, short for “The Onion Router”, possesses several layers of encryption (like an onion) to ensure the user’s security. Created by the United States Navy, the primary use of Tor revolves around keeping the user anonymous and erasing any “fingerprints” they may leave on the Internet.
Downloading and using Tor is as easy as using a regular browser. However, keep in mind that Tor will not replace your other browsers. See, the one disadvantage holding Tor back is its speed—it’s really slow. The speed (or lack of) is because of Tor using only a handful of loaned servers located around the world, meaning loads of traffic can bring the service to its knees. You can’t even stream video on Tor, to give you a picture of how slow it is.
So why use Tor? Whatever you do in the Tor browser will be private and secure because Tor bundles your data into encrypted packets before they enter the network. Plus, any information that could be used to identify you and/or your location is deleted. Tor then encrypts the rest of the information before finally sending encrypted data to various random servers or relays so that it cannot be traced. But Tor is not perfect for privacy. One issue holds back Tor in the security realm: nodes. Despite the long, arduous process the browser goes through to encrypt your data, entry and exit nodes are still able to see certain aspects of your browsing data.
Use A VPN Service
Virtual private networks (VPNs) encrypt all data coming to-and-from your device. And while the VPN industry has experienced a surge in popularity throughout the last decade, there are still many people who don’t know what a VPN is or why you’d use one.
I’ll give you a couple of reasons why you would use one. With a VPN, you can access geo-blocked content. With one, you can also protect your online data from hackers and government surveillance since VPNs encrypt your traffic and hide your IP address from others.
For maximum security, it is recommended to use, a combination of Tor and VPN because, believe it or not, they are not the same thing. A Tor VPN, however, works wonders for your security and would ensure the entry and exit nodes would be unable to see any of your data.
Ensure Offline Security
I’ve met many cybersecurity-conscious people throughout my life, and one mistake I see many of them make is never taking proper care of their physical media. Many people, including those cyber-security conscious people I mentioned, don’t realize how important physical security is.
You need to make sure all your physical documents are safe. This can be done by locking your wallet in a safe and keeping any personal information away from anyone that’s not you or a close relative (still be careful about them, however). And when you leave the house, only bring things you really need. Debit card, credit card, money, proof of information (license, ID): Bring the essentials.
Always be Suspicious
If you’re suspicious of the heading, good. Don’t always be suspicious, of course, but don’t trust everyone as easily as you do a family member. If a random person on the Internet asks you a personal question, don’t share the answer. And of course, never tell your email password, your social security number, or any personally identifiable information to anyone except when absolutely needed (an emergency).
Be Aware of the Pitfalls of Public Wi-Fi
I’m willing to bet your home wi-fi is secured with a password and uses—at minimum—WPA security. That’s great and all, but many people use public networks, and the security of the public is…abysmal most of the time.
If you need to connect to a public wi-fi network, make sure you don’t log in anything important, else someone else on the network may be able to intercept your information. However, a VPN does wonders on a public wi-fi network due to the encryption.
Each method I mentioned throughout this article are effective, useful ways to protect your data. In a world where data is the new gold, you’ll want to be careful at all times. A sad reality, yes, but it’s the one we currently live in. Fortunately, most of these methods take no more than an hour to set up.