Young girl on a laptop with no adult supervision.

Have you used the same password over and over again for various websites?

Do you subconsciously click ‘Accept’ under the Terms and Conditions section of a website to skip quickly to the next step of your transaction? 

You’re not alone!  

But here’s the thing, we SHOULD be questioning why apps and websites need our birth dates, location or phone numbers. Chances are, they don’t. 

With that in mind, here are 6 simple things you can do to vastly improve your online security and keep your private information as safe as possible: 

1. Create Complicated Passwords

Create a different password every time you set up an online account. Include numbers, symbols, upper and lower case letters or better yet, use a password generator like Dashlane to help you.  

Use a secure password manager app to store all your passwords for future use. Then, all you need to remember is the password that opens the actual password manager itself and all the rest of them are safely listed inside. 

2. Turn off the 'Save Password' feature in your browser

You could have the most complicated password in the world but it’s useless if you save it to your device for future use and someone else gains access to it. 

Remember to always log out of your account every time you’ve finished using it.  

3. Use Two-Step Verification

Two-step verification isn’t always an option, but when it is, you should use it.

It’s an extra layer of protection to your private data and requires you to enter a code (usually sent by text) to verify that the person logging into your account is actually you 

4. Ensure your Social Media Settings are as secure as they can be

 There are more security settings on social media platforms than many users realise 

Apart from simply setting your account to ‘Private’, there are filters that allow you to only share certain information with certain people or groups and settings that prevent you from being tagged or contacted by outside accounts.

5. Be Location Savvy

Have you ever turned on your Location setting to use GoogleMaps and then forgotten to turn it back off? 

Or ‘check in’ to a place and not really think about the information you’re sharing with everyone who can view your profile? 

Unfortunately, location sharing is quite a common feature on many online networks so it’s vital that we become more aware of what apps have access to our location through our phone settings.  

6. Avoid using Public Wifi Networks

Experts advise against availing of public wifi networks as it’s very possible that someone else using the same network could start going through or even stealing the files you have on that device.