data securityThe information that you put online could be accessed by almost anybody if you don’t take steps to protect it.

This means that your social security number, your bank account details or even information about your children could be out there for everyone to see.

It’s important that you keep yourself safe from harmful online predators.

According to a study, the costs of cybercrime on businesses could get as high as 2.1 trillion by 2019.

1. Scan Your Computer for Viruses

The easiest way for someone to steal your information is to use a keystroke logger or some other form of spyware on your computer. In fact, you should make sure that your phone and tablet are also protected against spyware, malware and viruses. Virus scanners are relatively inexpensive and will run continuous checks to make sure that your computer or mobile device is protected. Taking extra measures now to keep your devices safe will save you time and money in the long run in the event that your computer gets hit with a virus.

2. Use Secured Networks

Anything that uses WiFi to connect to your network can potentially get hacked. It is critical that your network is secured at all times. Virtual servers are not contained to any one computer In addition to your computer or phone, a wireless baby monitor or a smart refrigerator could even be hacked into. Once someone gets into your network, everything on it can be compromised. Securing your network is as easy as protecting it with a strong password. You should only connect to networks that can be trusted. Restaurants and various businesses will frequently offer free WiFi to customers. Verify that you are locked and safe before connecting.

3. Private or Virtual Server

A virtual server acts like a regular one except that it isn’t a dedicated server your entire computer can run off of. You can create as many copies of a virtual server as you want, access it from anywhere and protect it against hackers or others who may try to access it. You may be able to create one yourself or talk with an IT professional who can help set one up for you.

4. Don’t Offer More Than You Need To

If you are worried that critical details could be stolen or used against you, don’t put it online if you don’t have to. Writers may consider using pen names when they create content or screen names for sites like YouTube or Tumblr. When applying for loans online, make sure that you only submit applications through secure servers that encrypt the information that you do provide.

Your online information could be worth a lot of money to a criminal. All forms of cybercrime should be reported to the FBI or other investigative agencies where professionals with training and criminal justice degree experience can assist. Protect yourself by limiting what you put online and how you access the internet in general. Doing so could save you from identity theft or other forms of harassment that could take months or years to recover from.