Tips on How to Protect Your Privacy OnlineVanessa Venugopal
Privacy begins to become a word quite hard to achieve in today’s technological advancement and digital society. The content we put on social media, the things we search online, our location, and so on happens to be seen or tracked by somebody. And, it becomes frustrating!
What we thought of as a better-connected world that technology can bring us, in fact, has a prize. It means giving up our right to privacy. Everything about us is known by the government, marketing agencies, and companies. It seems like you cannot hide anything anymore.
Your data out there somewhere stored in a server pose a threat. If it gets hacked or fallen into the wrong hands, then it’s going to be a problem.
Despite these unwanted and unsolicited activities from companies or agencies, there is hope to keep safe from them. As technology keeps on moving forward, data being breached all the time by hackers, and companies tracking all activities, there are end-to-end software technologies created to protect us.
Besides tools that are affordable to keep you safe, there are simple steps you can follow to take control of your privacy. You don’t have to be an expert to stay safe online.
How to Keep Your Privacy Safe Online
LIMIT WHAT YOU SHARE ONLINE
Social media is where we see a lot of information and details about a person. In 2020, the number of social media users rose to 3.80 billion and increased by more than 9% as of this moment. There is no doubt that our current situation prompted the increase in social media usage.
But many do not understand that social media can risk their privacy when not used properly. The most vital tip to remember on social media is to not overshare. Avoid providing personal information like location, plans, birthday, maiden name of your mother, and so on.
This simple information to you can be a crucial detail for cybercriminals or stalkers. They utilize the information they have collected and use it in any way they want.
Make sure that the information you share is limited. You can also skip the “About Me” page or field when creating your profile, check your privacy settings, or limit those who can view your post to people you know.
CREATE AND USE A STRONG PASSWORD
Creating a strong password serves not only as a security measure. It also protects your privacy online because some people may have information stored in the cloud or elsewhere, that once it gets hacked, their privacy is compromised. Hence, the use of a strong password is highly recommended for online privacy.
Many people create passwords using names of people they known, common passwords like PASSWORD123, or personal information. If your passwords are similar to what we have mentioned, then it’s about time to change them.
When creating a strong password, make sure that it has the following:
- Upper and lowercase
- Symbols (#@.,!)
- More than 12 characters
- Should not be a personal detail like name of spouse and so on
- Do not recycle passwords
- Keep it random and complicated
The more complicated your passwords are, the better. If you worry about remembering your passwords, there are password managers to help you with that.
Password managers are applications you can use to store your personal details like credit card numbers, passwords, and usernames. It will automatically fill in your login information, so you don’t have to remember your passwords at all. You’ll only need to remember one password to access your password manager account.
- Dashlane: Most highly recommended password manager with lots of positive reviews surrounding its name. You can store an unlimited number of passwords, get dark web monitoring, auto-fill, VPN, and password generator.
- Lastpass: It is the best known free password manager with features almost like its paid version. It auto-fills accounts, creates strong passwords, and is compatible with multiple browsers.
Aside from using a strong password, activate your two-factor authentication (2FA) for an additional layer of security. 2FA is a security measure that adds an extra layer of protection before you can access your account. It comes after you have input your password. 2FA can be a code sent via email or SMS, or it could be a question you know the answer to.
BROWSE IN INCOGNITO
You can hide your browsing history from your computer when you go incognito while browsing. However, incognito mode is limited to not saving your browser history on your computers, temporary internet files, and cookies. It does not give you the full or complete privacy you need. It won’t hide you from your Internet Service Provider, employer (when using a company device), and trackers. For that, you’ll need other tools to keep your privacy safe.
USE SOFTWARE THAT PROTECTS YOUR PRIVACY
There are plenty of tools that can give you the peace of mind you need when you browse online. You can choose from VPN applications, privacy software, or antivirus software. We will provide some examples of each so you can select what tool you can use.
Iolo Privacy Guardian
When it comes to privacy protection, Iolo is the brand name that stands out among the rest. It has been around for years, providing users with software that ranges from different purposes yet with one goal, to protect your private life.
Privacy Guardian is one of their products with all the features you’ll need to protect your online privacy.
Here’s an overview of what you’ll get:
- Protect browsers from new and invasive online tracking and data mining technologies.
- Prevent data clearance on websites you use to engage in.
- Delete tracking cookies and browsing data.
- Protection from phishing emails.
- Search online privately.
- Get rid of annoying ads by stopping them from tracking your activities.
- Keep your credit card reputation safe by avoiding data collection of your shopping habits and more.
- Avoid the collection and selling of your data without your consent.
You can find Iolo Privacy Guardian reviews online that’ll tell you how excellent this software is when it comes to protecting your PC. Get your Iolo Privacy Guardian activation key today, and protect your online privacy from trackers and data mining.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a software application that provides privacy by creating a private network. When you use a VPN, you can mask your IP address. So when you browse online, it won’t be traced back. Hence, you’ll enjoy an encrypted connection and privacy online.
You can find a lot of VPN software, but the best-known VPN, according to reviews, is ExpressVPN.
- Access global content wherever you are and watch the content you want that is unavailable in your country.
- Browse or shop online safely even when you are connected to public Wi-Fi.
- Connect to multiple devices with a single description.
- AES-256 encryption is the standard security worldwide.
- It has a private DNS for a safer and faster online connection.
- Never logs or keeps traffic or data.
- Unlimited bandwidth
USE MESSAGING APPS THAT HAS AN END-TO-END ENCRYPTION
Using messaging tools that offer end-to-end encryption helps protect you from third parties. With such security, no one, either your internet provider, government, the app maker, or hackers, will be able to take a peek at your private data.
Make sure to use messaging apps with encryption option:
Never rely on messaging apps from your social media accounts to give you the security you need.
BEWARE OF PHISHING
One of the most common ways hacker access individual accounts is by phishing. In phishing, the hacker sends an email or message via SMS and pretends to be an individual’s official financial institution, bank, or credit card provider. They’ll send a link where the individual will have to click and provide their personal information. Once they have logged in, the hackers will now have access to their accounts.
You can avoid this by avoiding clicking on links sent to you. It is the most important rule to follow. There are also other ways you can spot a phishing email or message.
- Check for grammatical and spelling errors.
- Inconsistency of the email address, links, and domain names.
- The message has a sense of emergency.
- Asking users to click on the link or download the attachment.
- Request for personal information.
REVIEW PERMISSION YOU ALLOW ON MOBILE APPS AND BROWSER EXTENSIONS
Some applications and browser extensions require permission to access a certain part of your device. Some require access to your camera, microphone, contacts, or location. Without access to such, it won’t function. However, there are some applications or extensions that try to access parts of your device that isn’t required. So you have to check the permission you allow for your apps.
You can easily control what your apps and extension can access, and make sure that it’s not spying on you.
In addition, experts suggest that it is better to use a browser as they have less access to your data as compared to an app. If you aren’t using that app often and can access it on your browser, then delete the app.
BE WARY OF WHEN CONNECTING SMART DEVICES
The problem with smart devices is that hackers can easily access them as they are connected online and store some of your data. Internet-connected devices are often used by hackers where they can deploy their attacks or give them the ability to steal your data.
Therefore, to protect yourself from threats, avoid connecting a random device to your internet connection. Use a guest network when connecting your smart device to your Wi-Fi connection. Secure all connections, use strong passwords on smart devices, and turn them off when not in use or disconnect them.
USE A SECURE SEARCH ENGINE
Chrome is a good search engine, but when it comes to privacy, you can’t trust it. That is why people prefer using anonymous search engines. Using these types of search engines gives users the privacy they need, as it doesn’t collect and share the history and click. Furthermore, it comes with an ad blocker and tracker. So, you are free of annoying ads.
Here are some privacy-oriented search engines:
Protect both your privacy and security as they go hand-in-hand. When you start to secure your devices and data, you start to keep your privacy away from trackers, data miners, and cybercriminals. When your privacy is safe, you’ll have the peace of mind you always need.