The internet has far been successful in changing the way we live from day-to-day. According to the latest data from www.internetworldstats.com, the Philippines ranks 17th out of the top 20 countries with the highest number of internet users. Our country has around 33.6 million internet users as of the first quarter of 2012.
Everything you need to know about the world is now at your fingertips, aided by the speed of your internet connection. Privately owned companies have further contributed to our growing dependence on this technology by offering unlimited internet usage plans available for home, business, and mobile use.
It's amazing how the internet has evolved from mainly being a source of information, entertainment, and leisure into an efficient payment facility for goods and services. Keeping in touch with family and friends all over the world is now made affordable (if not free) through different voice/messaging platforms and social networks. Furthermore, the internet is now a source of income for many people through freelance and work at home job opportunities.
With this convenience at hand, we must not forget that the cyberspace is also a gateway for privacy and data theft. We usually divulge bits and pieces of personal information to the web sites we visit making us easy targets of online hackers. No one is exempted. Unfortunately, there are hardly any Philippine laws in force to protect us from these cyber crimes. Ensure that you have a secured digital life. Here are some tips:
- Keep your computer virus-free. Choose antivirus software that offers total internet protection and schedule a system scan on a weekly or monthly basis. Clean up your internet history and clear out cookies.
- Create strong passwords and change it regularly. A professional hacker can figure out the algorithm to unlock your accounts. Strengthen password by having a good mix of alphanumeric characters, uppercase, and lowercase letters. Do not use phrases or words that can directly be linked to you such as your name or birth date. And just a piece of advice, abc123 is not a strong password!
- Never access online bank accounts in internet cafes or any publicly shared computers.
- When shopping online, make sure that transactions are done over a secured site. If applicable, set a limit to the amount you spend online. Banks are now offering a credit card numbers intended for your online purchases. Use this instead of directly providing your credit card account details.
- Watch out for scams. You have probably experienced receiving notifications that you have won some million dollars. Take time to research. Never click on website links right away.
- Lastly, be careful on the things you share via social networks. Ask yourself, is it worth sharing? Keep simple and be true to yourself.
The internet is a powerful tool which can make or break you. Secure your transactions and keep your personal identifiable information confidential. Do not fully rely on software or internet programs to keep your data secure. There will definitely be further advancements in technology in the future. Thus, we need to do our part to ensure that our personal and financial data are 100% hack proof.