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How to protect your privacy online
It’s difficult to go a few days after checking the news without learning about a significant data breach that could have exposed the private information of millions of consumers to thieves. Self-defense online has always been crucial, but as we spend more of our time online for work, entertainment, and social interaction, the hazards grow.
However, there are measures you can take to protect your personal data, and many of them are simple. Even better, the majority of those actions won’t significantly change your routine and are free. It’s never been simpler to increase online privacy for you and your loved ones, from utilizing a more secure search engine to removing apps you no longer use.
Create strong and secure passwords.
Hackers may crack weak passwords like “Password1” and “12345” in under a second. Create strong and secure passwords for all of your online accounts to start protecting your personal information. It is more difficult for others to guess a longer password. A combination of numbers, letters, and symbols makes for the best kind of password. These passwords are challenging to remember, though.
Use the first letters of something memorable, such as a vacation or event, then add symbols and numbers to form a passphrase to make things simpler. If you visited America in 2016, for instance, you could create a password like Iw2Ai16! (I went 2 America in 2016). This is significantly trickier to predict.
Search through a more secure engine.
Most users choose one web browser over another because of certain features or just because they are more comfortable with it. However, there is no assurance that your decision will meet security standards. Even for consumers who are concerned about security, there isn’t always a simple solution. Before choosing a new browser, if you’re in the market, research reviews and information regarding security features.
Even though switching between various browsers will use some RAM, it’s a useful technique to compare user interfaces and features for brief periods of time before deciding which will be your primary browser. Choose a browser that supports our next recommendation, private browsing, if you’re very concerned about your data and tracking.
Verify whether private browsing is supported by your browser.
Private browsing is one of the most useful and well-liked browser security features, but there are other features as well. By not tracking you, this function reduces the data footprint associated with your browsing. Like Google Chrome’s Incognito and Microsoft Edge’s InPrivate, many well-known browsers offer comparable features.
Private browsing is highly advised because it:
- Remove your surfing history from the history index of the browser.
- When your session is over, your browser deletes cookies from its cache.
You can lessen potential intrusions into your activities by not tracking your use, which is a particularly important security measure against data theft. Someone who takes your computer or merely uses it without your permission could possibly access your financial accounts or obtain some sensitive personal information by looking through your browsing history.
It is also more difficult for websites to monitor you online when cookies are removed. A lot of information about you, including your browsing history, might be stored in cookies. Even harmful cookies have been known to bypass security measures. For this reason, deleting cookies or using a private browser to avoid them is helpful.
Use your data on a virtual private network for protection.
The majority of online risks can be easily protected against virtual private networks (VPNs). They offer strong encryption, which boosts security and eliminates many of the vulnerabilities we cover in this article. When you have to rely on public Wi-Fi, where risks are more common, it is extremely helpful.
Unfortunately, the majority of VPN systems have certain disadvantages, such as slower surfing performance. This issue is more noticeable with outdated hardware or Wi-Fi connections that are less robust. You have the option of setting up your own VPN or using a VPN service for a monthly or yearly price.
Use caution when sharing on social media.
The majority of social media sites allow some kind of public access. Although Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all have privacy features, you must really use them if you want to keep your information private. Simply restricting the information you share on social media will help you stay clear of any problems.
Even if your account is private or locked, there are several things to avoid. Answering questions on your feed about your first automobile, favorite color, or pet’s name can provide criminals with information about you.
When bulk uploading, be careful not to unintentionally include private information or files. Additionally, double-check your pictures for anything you don’t want people to see.
Remove unused apps and just keep those you use.
The best course of action is to remove any outdated programs from all of your devices, including your PC, smartphone, and web browser. Aside from security concerns, uninstalling apps can frequently help you improve performance.
This is particularly true for browsers and cellphones, which may have unneeded add-ons occupying valuable hard drive space. Furthermore, removing outdated programs protects you against security issues. Some add-ons and programs could have a shelf life where they stop receiving updates from the creators. They are also no longer protected from the most recent dangers, which may have an effect on you if you still use outdated software or an add-on that has been collecting digital dust on your device.
Use an encrypted messaging app.
Who still uses a phone these days? While we are somewhat joking, we are also conscious of the fact that we are in a text-centric era. It’s easy to become lax in your approach to using texting and messaging services. Sending sensitive personal information by text is completely acceptable. Among others? Compared to picking up the phone, you are saving time.
However, take into account an option that offers encryption if you intend to use a third-party messaging app for business or other crucial communication. Popular independent choice, Telegram. However, for users of Android and Apple devices, respectively, both Google Messages and Apple Messages offer their own safe encryption options.
Update or switch off your antivirus program.
Some antivirus programs operate in the background, so you might not hesitate to put off or even skip updates. While there are a variety of potential concerns, delaying updates means you won’t have the most recent fixes for problems and vulnerabilities.
On the other hand, think about changing your antivirus program if you keep experiencing problems with viruses or malware. While Bitdefender is praised for being user-friendly, McAfee Total Protection offers a variety of options and support for the majority of device types.
Watch out for phishing.
Not all security breaches involve malicious software or hackers sneaking into your account. We are frequently duped into giving our passwords or personal information to criminals. These attempts may come in the form of an email, text message, or phone call.
Additionally, they frequently seek out your username, password, or even Social Security number. Spelling, language mistakes, links to websites other than the ones they should be linking to, and emails arriving from strange domains are all indications that these communications aren’t genuine.