Digital prepping: How to keep your personal data safe
07/22/2020 // Mary Miller // Views

The internet gives access to virtually limitless information, with it anything you may want to learn is at your fingertips. However, access to the internet is a double-edged sword. Simply being online can expose your personal data not just to big businesses but also to people who may not have the best intentions for your data in mind.

Going online means that you are constantly putting your personal data at risk. In the worst-case scenario, this can even lead to identity theft.

Here are a few useful tips you can follow to help protect your personal data online. (h/t to

Use an operating system that never goes online

If having an online presence already puts you at risk of being hacked, then the most logical solution is to simply not go online. Unfortunately, this is not an option for most people since a vast majority of modern conveniences, including work-related matters, are only accessible online.

While you can’t stay offline forever, it is possible to have an operating system that never accesses the web. This is where you can store all your personal information and other sensitive data.

One of the most common operating systems is Windows, but this system is notoriously prone to security breaches. For a more secure alternative, you can choose from either Linux, Kali, Caine, Ubuntu or Mageia.

If you’re not sure about what operating system to use, some of them, like Linux, can be installed onto a USB drive. This will allow you to take the operating system out for a “test drive” without having to replace your current operating system.


Encrypt your personal data

If you do have to make any online transactions or send sensitive information over the internet, make sure to download secure encryption software that can scramble the information before transmitting it.

Encryption software can help keep your browser secure and prevent hackers from easily getting hold of your information. Once you have the encryption software installed, check the “lock” icon on the status bar of your internet browser. Make sure the icon is in the “locked” position before doing anything that puts your sensitive data at risk. (Related: How to avoid Google surveillance and protect your personal data.)

Be careful about sharing information on social media

It can sometimes be tempting to brag online whenever you make an expensive purchase or you’re going somewhere over the weekend. Any information that you post for the whole world to see can easily fall into the wrong hands. It can even make you a potential target for a home robbery.

Posting personal information, such as your full name or the names of your immediate family members, can also allow identity thieves to piece together enough data to answer “challenge” questions and gain access to your accounts. Other examples of personal information that should never find its way online include your full address, phone number and social security number.

Also, social media services have settings to control how much of your personal information is visible to the public. You can adjust these settings so that only your trusted friends and relatives can see your personal data.

Don't click on any suspicious links

Don't be so quick to click on any links you receive, even if they are from trusted individuals. They could have already been hacked and you would be none the wiser. These could be phishing attempts or programs that could expose your computer to a computer virus or malware.

Before clicking on anything, check with the person if he really meant to send you something. It’s an even better idea to call that person up directly and ask what the link is for. You can never tell if your friend’s laptop may have been stolen and someone else is pretending to be him.

When dealing with sensitive data, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Learn other ways to keep your personal information safe online by visiting

Sources include:

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