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Data breaches seem to be commonplace in India. Case in point, analysts at CIO found that 69% of Indian organizations are at risk of such breaches. What’s worse, however, is that the 2019 Cost of Data Breach Report has India ranked 15th in the total cost of a breach, with data breaches costing Indian firms approximately Rs 12.8 crore on the average. But organizations aren’t the only ones that should be worried. You should be too, as your own data is also at risk.

A total of 419 million Facebook and Twitter users worldwide had their personal data leaked to third parties without their consent. This case is one of the many reasons why everyone needs to know about cybersecurity. A feature by HP on the future of cybersecurity details how it is important to keep personal data protected, and should be available only to authorized users. Otherwise, cybercriminals can get a hold of this data and use it to extort money, steal your identity, and sabotage your reputation. That said, here are some ways to make sure your data is secure.

Update everything

Updating your operating system, security software, and web browser is key to staying a step ahead of cybercriminals. The Balance explains that updates protect against new security risks, and provide additional layers of security via ‘patches’. So, the next time you are prompted for an update, do click ‘Yes’. It is generally free, anyway, and will help keep your data protected.

Make your passwords strong — really strong

Your passwords are your walls against hackers, which means you’ll need passwords that are difficult to figure out. To avoid the name + birth date password. Instead, you’ll need to get extra creative. You should start with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols without a distinguishable pattern. Alternatively, Keepsafe Software CEO Zouhair Belkoura suggests using password managers, like 1Password or LastPass. They’ll create strong passwords for you, and keep them secure at the same time.

Surf with VPN

A Business Insider post on securing your data recommends getting a paid VPN, as using it will hide your internet traffic and IP address for potentially malicious third parties. It is even more important when you’re using public WiFi, as it encrypts your data, thereby making it difficult to steal.

Protect your PenDrive

In our article on ‘How to Create Encrypted Partition on USB PenDrive Memory,’ we noted previously that many of us keep private files on a PenDrive or flash memory card. There’s nothing wrong with that, provided you protect your USB. One way you can do that is by installing software such as Rohos Mini Drive into your PenDrive or flash memory card. Not only does it encrypt data, but it also offers password encryption on your USB drive. There is other similar software, though Rohos works just fine — and is free!

Mind what you share on social media

Finally, stop oversharing on social media. You don’t need to put your complete name, birthday, place of birth and contact number on your Facebook profile. Neither should you post anything that may contain sensitive information? These all seem rather innocuous. But given social media’s encompassing reach, such oversharing can have negative implications on your personal data. Having said that, make sure you also set your privacy settings to ‘Private’ so as to restrict the people who can view your profile.