On a typical day, we generate billions of gigabytes of data, including approximately 306 billion emails, 500 million tweets and 5 billion internet searches.1 With so much bouncing through all these digital worlds, it’s no surprise that some of this data can fall into the wrong hands.
Use this handy checklist to make sure your data is secure on the web, on your personal devices and over your wireless connection.
Securing your online activity
1. Look for the lock
The quickest way to determine whether you’re dealing with a secure website is to check for the green lock symbol next to the website url. A green lock indicates a secure site. If you come across a website with a red triangle, leave right away and don’t return, malware could be lurking, waiting for your click.
2. Check http vs. https
Every website URL begins with either “http://” or “https://” – and there’s a world of difference in that one letter. The “s” means the site has “SSL” encryption, so only the user’s computer and the secure server can recognize the data. Websites with this feature are not only the most secure, but ones you’ll notice typically show the green lock symbol.
3. Use link scanners
If you’re not sure whether to click on a link, a link scanner can help provide the answer. Copy and paste a link into an online link scanner such as URLVoid to get in-depth information about a site without even visiting it.
4. Be aware of what you share
Websites may request a lot of information before you buy, but there are some things they should never ask. If a site asks for your social security number, birthday or other personal details that don’t relate to shipping and billing, consider it a red flag.
Securing your devices
1. Create a secure passcode
Remember to always keep an eye on your device when you’re in public. For further protection and peace of mind, use a secure password, PIN or fingerprint lock to keep strangers from accessing your phone.
2. Know your apps
The wrong app can put your data at risk. Only download apps from sources you trust and regularly delete the ones you’re not using.
3. Back up your data
Whether your phone is lost, damaged or stolen, it’s important to have your data backed up somewhere else, either on your computer or a cloud-based service. Some devices give you the ability to remotely wipe data if your device is stolen or lost.
Securing your connection
1. Only join trusted Wi-Fi networks
When accessing public Wi-Fi, try to use a familiar network. Avoid public Wi-Fi when possible. Many don’t provide secure connections, making it easier for others using that public network to access your device without your permission. Remember, the more new networks you use, the greater the risk that you’ll find one that isn’t secure.
2. Use a VPN
When you do use public Wi-Fi, stay secure with a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt data going to and from your device to keep your web activity private. Not all VPNs are the same, so do your research before you install.
U.S. CellularⓇ is committed to protecting customers’ security. Learn more about comprehensive device protection plans.
- Cassidy, Francesca. “A Day in Data.” Raconteur, Raconteur Media Ltd., 25 Mar. 2019, www.raconteur.net/infographics/a-day-in-data.