How to Know if Your Data is Safe When Entering Personal Information on a Website

Online safety, is it a dream or a reality? With thousands of websites housing our information and hackers who see a tree ripe for the picking, it is important to know how you can ensure your information is safe when filling out online forms.

How can I tell if my information is safe

Now this can be a tricky task and a tough question to answer, but with these tips you can ensure as much safety as possible when filling out online forms.

1. Do you see HTTPS before the website address?

Look at the address bar in your browser. If you see a lock symbol and the letters HTTPS before the website address this is a strong sign that the website owners will keep your information safe and secure. 

2. What does HTTPS mean?

HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. This is an extension of the HTTP system and is used to secure information stored on a website. The protocol is widely used online and is a vital way of showing the security and validity of a websites security protocols. Other forms of online security includes SSL certificates which are used to protect online purchases and other security systems such as Control Message Protocol (ICMP) and Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) are used to protect your data too. Any reputable site is going to do the utmost to protect you and the data they have housed on their website.

3. Do you need a password to log in?

If you are signing up for an account and putting information into that site, then the site should be password protected. We do not know of any sites that don’t use passwords, but the internet is a big place, with a lot of unusual facets.

4. Are there security questions to answer?

Any respectable website will advise you to set up security questions to answer if you have forgotten your password and been locked out of your account. Security questions should be complex enough that someone else cannot guess them. So don’t put your favorite pet’s name or the middle name of your eldest child down as a response to security questions.

5. Is the form you are filling out secured?

Before filling out any online forms, check and see if they are secure forms. There should be some sort of logo, or the page your accessing should have HTTPS or a lock in the address bar. There are many online forms that are not secured, but these generally do not ask for much personal information.

6. Does the website contain a privacy statement or corporate governance statement of intent?

Any reputable site will have privacy policies and corporate governance statements, or an outline of their terms of service. Take some time to read over the legalese of the site before giving up any personal information. So many people fail to read these documents and miss out on vital information, such as the company stating they will sell your information if you check the agree box. You have to be very careful with what you give up in today’s online world.

7. If in doubt, don’t fill it out!

If you find yourself on a site that has all the safety measures aforementioned, but you still think the site may not be legit, then don’t give up your information. 

What happens if hackers breach my data?

Hackers are running rampant across the wild west that is the internet. There are so many “hack attacks” and unfortunately they happen daily. If they hack a site that has your data on it, here is what could happen.

1. The hackers could sell your information to criminals

Most hacks result from a hack to order system, where the hacker has a specific request for certain information such as SSN or banking details. If they steal your information, then you may find yourself in debt, or your bank accounts drained by criminals. If you find yourself the victim of a hack, there are many organizations that can help you through the process of recovering from a data breach.

2. The hackers could hand your information off to scammers posing as tech support reps, telemarketers and advertisers

Often times you will have a clear indication that someone has hacked you when the calls and emails start rolling in. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the influx, unless your phone company offers a blocking system.

What is data governance and how is my online safety effected?

Data governance is quite simply, a plan on how best to store and use information. More to the point, it is they way by which an organization will keep your information secure. The plan looks at the who, what, how and when model to determine who should view data and why they should have access to it. 

Such systems are paramount to your online safety and are used to develop and maintain standards of security. With governance, there is a clear set of guidelines as to the safety platforms a company will use to protect and house your information. With governance, your information will be kept as safe as possible in the online world