The information age has been a blessing for music lovers: no matter where you are, as long as you have Internet access you can listen to whatever tune strikes your fancy. This means no more trudging from store to store looking for that one album you want: you just hit up a website and you can find what you’re looking for. The downside to this is that the more you’re on the Internet, the more risk you run of having your personal information stolen. It happens all the time, so how can you protect yourself?
Piracy Doesn’t Just Hurt the Artist
Let’s start with the easiest tip: do not pirate music, be it through torrents or direct download. Besides it being unfair to the artist in question, you’re running a serious risk. The packets you’re downloading will often contain all kinds of nasty viruses and other malware which can infect your computer. Staying safe means avoiding risk, so stay away from file sharing and you’ve taken a good first step.
Don’t Give Away Too Much Information
Now that you’ve wisely decided to go the legal route, let’s look at some of the risks associated with that. iTunes is a great online store with millions of customers. A big marketplace like that is wonderful not just for music lovers but also presents a fat target for hackers. Apple is no slouch when it comes to security and yet every once in a while they get hit, like in 2010 and 2013. In both of these cases, people’s personal data ended up in the wrong hands and was most likely sold to the highest bidder.
If you want to prevent something like this from happening to you, make sure that you give as little information as you can to services that you use: try to give nothing besides your name and email address or, better yet, use fake ones. If you have an online wallet, make sure to the best of your ability that it doesn’t link directly to your bank account. Smart hackers can trace it back and raid the rest of your money if you aren’t smart about it. Whatever you do, never let websites remember your credit card. It seems convenient until you find yourself the victim of identity theft.
Even if you give away little to no information, you’d be surprised at what a smart criminal can do with next to nothing. The next step is for you to make sure your password is solid. Practically any password can be decoded given enough time, but time is not something hackers always care to spend. If you have any accounts protected with passwords like “password123” or something similar, change them today to something with no dictionary words and a lot of random numbers and symbols. If the service you use does get hacked, you’ll be sitting pretty while hackers vainly try and crack your account.
These three common-sense tactics should keep you out of harm’s way most of the time but none of them are fully secure. To make sure that you’re truly untouchable on the Internet, you’re going to need to get a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. A VPN allows you to access the internet from a random IP address, making it impossible for hackers to locate you and remotely access your computer. A VPN can also mask your location, allowing you to bypass country restrictions so you can remain anonymous and access regionally restricted content. You’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’re practically invisible to cybercriminals.
Security is a learned behavior and any music lover who follows this advice is guaranteed to be safe from hacking and other nastiness. Do you have any additional recommendations as to how to stay safe while satisfying your musical cravings? Have you had any difficulties in the past? Please leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts!