The ability to share files is one of the greatest advantages of storing information online. You can plan a project or share music in real time with individuals around the world, allowing for seamless collaboration. However, you need to take precautions when you share files in order to ensure that nobody tampers with vital information.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure your data is secure:

Keep It Personal

If you’re sharing files, always make sure you use encrypted Wi-Fi. Encryption transmits the data you send in a code so other users cannot access it. You can tell if a website is encrypted if “https” is at the beginning of the site address. Also, protect your information with passwords whenever possible, and beware of joining networks that you are unfamiliar with. Generic network names like “freepublicwifi” can be a trap.

Stay Up-to-Date

Make sure the software you are using to share files is current. Developers spend a lot of time and energy finding and closing security loopholes in their software, but it will only work if you update it. Staying on top of the latest technology can help you stay a few steps ahead of hackers.

Install a Firewall

Using a firewall program on your computer is an excellent line of defense. Firewalls shield your computer from hacking helps by creating numerous rules that identify what data should be let in and what should be left out.

Safety First

Do not assume that a Wi-Fi hotspot is secure, and it is best to only keep your Wi-Fi on for as long as you need it. If you log into an unencrypted site, hackers can steal your identity and scam people whose contacts are stored in your system. If you take precautions like those listed above, your data will be much more safe. Exercise common sense—if you have files that are extremely sensitive, it might just be better to remove them from your device altogether.