The whole country is facing a major security compromise as hackers have breached into the COMELEC’s database, exposing sensitive information, the personal details of more than 70 million voters. Yep, your home address, your mother’s maiden name, and even your SSS and passport numbers are now exposed to the public.
Though the site where you can search for voter’s data has been shut down, now, more than ever, is the best time to beef up your internet privacy habits. Here's a refresher on the basic things you should be doing to keep yourself safe from online threats:
1. Review all of your online accounts. Not just the active ones, also check your inactive online accounts. If you have no plans of using them anymore, it's better to delete those dormant accounts so there's less of you exposed in the virtual world.
2. Use stronger passwords. You have got to start revisiting those passwords you've made for your online accounts. Make sure you have a strong password by using a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols to really make it difficult for hackers to invade your account. If the website has 2-step authentication, enable it. It's an easy way to make sure you're informed in case someone attempts to break into one of your online accounts.
3. Strengthen the answers to your security questions. Stop using security questions like “What’s your mother’s maiden name?,” or “When is your birthday?”? While these questions may be easy to answer, you can make them stronger by mixing letters, numbers, or symbols for the answers; even better, mislead hackers by having a totally quirky answer for a question (say, adobo for your mother's maiden name). If this is not enough, choose less conventional security questions instead if the website offers any.
4. Do not overshare. With a lot of internet users being social media savvy, anything that is shared over the internet can potentially be used against you. Think twice before posting any incriminating photo, video, or audio. Also, as much as possible, never leave sensitive details like your address or telephone number on your social media profiles, even if they are set on private (your email address should be enough).
5. Be mindful of your internet habits. When connecting to a WiFi hotspot, avoid connecting to unsecured public hotspots as they could be potential carriers of a virus, or can be a trap made by hackers. At home or in the office, equip your routers with strong passwords and firewalls to prevent hackers from infiltrating your modem.
6. Keep all your devices up-to-date. Be it your laptop, your tablet, or your smartphone, it's important that they have the latest updates or patches installed. Usually, these updates focus on not just adding new features, but also on improving your computer's security. Still not confident enough? Install anti-virus/malware/adware software on your gadgets.
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