In late 2015, online label manufacturer looked at the issue of online scams via vulnerable email systems and advised on some ways that consumers can avoid these such as not clicking on links or downloading attachments you’re unsure of and not having an up to date browser and antivirus software.

For 2017, they’re focusing on the less prevalent but just as worrying issue of data safety – how you can protect yourself from hackers and keep your data secure.

How to protect against data transfer hacks

There are a few simple precautions that you can take to make sure that you’re as well protected against data transfer hacks as you can be:

Use secure passwords

New Year, new passwords: start off your year on a good foot by resetting all your passwords. They should be unique with no identifiable information (like your name or birth date) included, with a mixture of letters and symbols too. If you struggle to remember them, use a password manager. If your accounts are more difficult to access, your personal information will be safer.

Never insert an unknown memory stick, SD card or CD into your computer

You’d think this only happened in the movies, but data transfer hacks are far more common than you realise. Whether you’re handed a CD as you’re heading out of a concert, you spot a memory stick lying around in the library, or bought a second hand or fake memory card off eBay, do not insert it into your computer. These can be loaded with software that will automatically upload a key tracker or similar to your system which can send information back to the hacker so they can access your data.

Avoid transactions on public WiFi

Public hotspots can be useful and convenient, but try to avoid any banking transactions and sending sensitive information if you’re using one of these. They can be more easily compromised and they make it easier for people to intercept data.

Back up, back up, back up

It goes without saying: make sure that your data is backed up somewhere secure. If your original copy gets lost, stolen or compromised, you won’t lose the information if it is backed up elsewhere, whether that’s an external device or in cloud storage.

Encrypt your data

Data encryption is now easily available for the general public. Use a software that will scramble your data when it is send via email to keep it safer.

Get protection against malware

If a hacker can’t gain access to your device in the first place, it’s easier to protect your data. Malware can appear in the most surprising places and take various forms, from viruses to Trojan horses and spyware, in emails, on websites or in downloadable documents. Make sure that you have an up to date anti-virus and anti-malware protection programme on your computer and follow the advice given in Data Label’s infographic.