Discovering that your personal information, conversations, pictures, or texts have been splattered all over the internet is not only an upsetting invasion of your privacy, but also has the potential to damage your personal life or livelihood. Luckily it’s possible to protect yourself from such events by developing a proactive attitude towards protecting your privacy.
Protecting your privacy is not about paranoia or having something to hide, but about accepting that there are people in the world who may want to steal your personal information for nefarious reasons. This can include people you are no longer friends with, former significant others, co-workers you have developed a rivalry with, or disgruntled former employees. It is impossible to predict how relationships will turn out, so it’s important to be mindful of guarding your personal information properly.
You might feel safe in your assumption that you never say or do anything worth gossiping about so you figure it is just easier to forgo passwords on your own personal device. Many people adopt this attitude and then quickly realize that they still feel violated if their phone is hacked and their personal information distributed without their consent.
A password is not about having something to hide, it is intended to protect your personal information as well as information sent to you by friends, family, or co-workers that they meant only for your eyes. It is also an important step in protecting your financial information from being stolen or sent to another phone via SMS.
When creating a password, be sure not to make it easy to guess. Don’t choose passwords that are based on publicly available information about you such as your birthday or the birthday or loved ones, phone numbers, your address, or anniversaries. Never use any consecutive number sequences as they are often one of the first things tried. Similarly, don’t use only letters to spell out words that are easily guessed such as your mother’s maiden name, the name of your pet, or anything else about you that can be found with a simple search. Use complex strings that include lower case and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols where possible. A good way to come up with a password no one else will guess it to use a unique phrase that you will remember but can’t be guessed. Then substitute some letter for numbers, add symbols between words, and be sure to capitalize sporadically. Never use the same password for all of your accounts.