How to protect your identity and personal data online

Cases of cybersecurity are escalating at an alarming rate. In as much as the internet has brought a ton of benefits, it has also paved way for crooked hackers to misuse people’s personal identity and data for their own good. The problem is that most online users still don’t understand how important online security is and are therefore doing very little to safeguard themselves.

Although many companies are working around the clock to ensure the security of their client’s identity and data, cybercriminals are also becoming smarter. It all comes back to you to take it upon yourself and ensure that you are doing all you can to protect your online security.

One surest way to safeguard your privacy while browsing online is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

What is a VPN?

This is a method of internet connection that is used to ensure security and privacy when using public and private networks such as Wi-Fi hotspots. VPNs are usually used by large companies and corporations to ensure the security of sensitive data such client’s information.

However, individual people can also use VPNs to protect their online identity and data. When you use a VPN, the company providing the VPN service will replace your original IP address with one of their own ensuring that your internet space is not breached.

How to Use a VPN to protect your personal identity and data in Cyprus

To protect your identity and data, a Virtual Private Network utilizes encryption technologies like Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and IP Security (IPSec) to create an encrypted virtual tunnel between the VPN server and your device. This way, no one can tell your real location or what you are doing online.

Here is how it works…

When you start your VPN software, all data and online activities are encrypted in a manner that not even your Internet Service Provider or WiFi provider can monitor it. After this encryption, the data is sent to the VPN server from where it is sent to your online destination, such as an online bank account or social media site. Your online destination is then tricked into thinking that the data is originating from the VPN server as opposed to your own device.

Without a VPN, your online data will be in the open and anyone with malicious intent can access it. This means that a VPN server acts as a third party that connects to the internet on your behalf. So instead of leaving your personal identity and data lying out in the open, the VPN will encrypt it and make it difficult for people to spy on your or steal your data.

If you are in Cyprus, it is very important that you take it upon yourself to protect your online security using a VPN. In case you don’t know where to begin or which VPN service to use, VpnAlert has an in-depth review on the best VPN for Cyprus.

You should however not only depend on VPNs to protect your online security in Cyprus. There are a number of other things you can implement to fortify your online space. Aside from VPNs, below are 4 other ways you can utilize to stay safe online.

  1. Use stronger passwords

Mostly, people would opt for passwords that are easy to remember for their online accounts. While this is justifiable, given how frustrating it can be to forget your password, it is not safe at all. If your password is easy to remember, chances are, it is also easy to crack. Using such info as your date of birth, hometown or favorite pet as your password is not recommended. For sensitive online accounts such as credit and bank accounts, a strong password is a must. Instead of using common names and numbers that be easily guessed, go with something more challenging. You can, for instance, come up with a familiar phrase and then take the first letter of each word in that phrase and combine them to make your password.

  1. Don’t reveal too much information on social media.

The temptation to share every aspect of your life on social media is overwhelming. But it is also damaging. Hackers and online impersonators will leverage on that information to hurt your identity or access your sensitive personal data like bank and credit information. This information can be used, for instance, to answer authentication questions which would give you access to an account if you forget your login details. Avoid sharing your social security numbers, phone numbers or even full names on social networks or any other publicly accessible websites.

  1. Only make purchases on secure websites.

It pays to do some homework on an online company before transacting with it, especially if its reputation is not publicly known. Check how previous customers review them and how they are rated by Online Security companies. Even more importantly, ensure that their website uses a secure and encrypted connection where sensitive personal and financial information is supposed to be provided. One simple way to confirm this is by ensuring that their website URL starts with https e.g instead of just http eg The s stands for secure, meaning that the connection on that particular website can be trusted.

  1. Be on the alert for Spam and Scams

As education on online security takes root, scammers are also coming up with new ways to be smarter. Many phishing scams are easy to identify but there are others that look more legitimate than they are. This is particularly dangerous for people who are ignorant of their online security and can be easily lured into a scammer’s trap.

Never trust any suspicious and promotional links that are sent to your email address no matter how legitimate they look. They might be baits trying to get you to provide sensitive personal information. Instead of clicking on these links, you can personally search for the company on a search engine, visit their website and see if they have such promotions.

Some people think online security is only meant for big companies, institutions, and corporations. The truth is, it all starts with you. While your bank, for example, has the obligation of protecting your information and identity, they won’t always be successful if you are recklessly sharing the same information. Online security starts with you.

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