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personal data

Today, almost everybody comes with at least a little bit of data attached. Your personal data could be anything from your basic information of name, home address, and date of birth, or it could be your collection of smartphone photographs and videos which has been steadily growing over the past few years. It’s every page you’ve ever ‘liked’ on Facebook, every Tweet you’ve ever sent, and every text conversation with your partner, mum, best friend or boss. Of course, some data is worth protecting more fiercely – your precious photos, personal details, financial details, and important work data would be in this category. Amid rising concerns for the security of personal data around the world, we’ve put together four top tips to help keep yours safe.

Tip #1. Cloud Back-Up:

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your data isn’t lost is to back it up regularly to the Cloud. For example, if you use an iPhone, iPad, Apple Mac or MacBook, you can set the device to automatically back up your data to iCloud, where you can access it at any time by simply signing in on any connected device. So, if you accidentally drop your iPhone in the bath, you can rest assured that your videos, photographs, apps, contacts and messages are just a few clicks away.

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Tip #2. Physical Back-Ups:

It may also be worth conducting a physical back-up of your data to a CD, external hard drive, pen drive, or SD card. However, bear in mind that unlike the Cloud, all of these can be physically destroyed, lost, or stolen. So, it’s worth using this in conjunction with an online backup for extra security, rather than a standalone solution.

Tip #3. Use a Strong Password:

Whether you’re storing data online or offline, using strong passwords will help to protect you against a potential data breach. Using passwords that are easily guessable should always be avoided; never underestimate the ease of finding out information today. Let’s say you use your child’s name and your date of birth – chances are, this information could be accessed by anybody simply by adding you on Facebook or checking out your LinkedIn profile. Use strong passwords with a combination of capital and small letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using the same passwords for different sites and apps.

Tip #4. Know What to Do if the Worst Happens:

No matter how many steps you take to keep your data safe, be prepared for if the worst happens. For example, you have important work files on your laptop that haven’t been transferred to the Cloud or a USB pen drive yet, but your laptop breaks down and becomes unresponsive before you have chance to do it. The good news is that all hope is not lost – it’s entirely possible for a good data recovery service to recover files from a broken device, or files that have been previously deleted.

If you found these tips helpful, please share them with your friends on social media.

Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) has passed a law requiring internet companies to store Russian citizens’ personal data inside the country.

The Kremlin says the move is for data protection but critics fear it is aimed at muzzling social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

The Russian government is thought to be seeking greater access to user data.

Russia's State Duma has passed a law requiring internet companies to store Russian citizens' personal data inside the country

Russia’s State Duma has passed a law requiring internet companies to store Russian citizens’ personal data inside the country

Social networks were widely used by protesters opposing President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012.

Analysts say there are fears that Russia may be seeking to create a closed and censored version of the internet within its borders.

The new bill, passed by the lower house of parliament, must still be approved by the upper chamber (Federation Council) and President Vladimir Putin before it becomes law.

If passed, the new rules will not take effect until September 2016 but will give the government grounds to block sites that do not comply.

“The aim of this law is to create… (another) quasi-legal pretext to close Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other services,” internet expert and blogger Anton Nossik told Reuters news agency.

“The ultimate goal is to shut mouths, enforce censorship in the country and shape a situation where internet business would not be able to exist and function properly.”

Introducing the bill to parliament, lawmaker Vadim Dengin said “most Russians don’t want their data to leave Russia for the United States, where it can be hacked and given to criminals”.