As the Internet involves in our daily lives, it has become vital to be cautious about how you protect yourself and your information online. In this age, where every day we hear the news about data breaches and hackers, it is not enough to trust browsers, ISPs, and websites to do it for you. An important reason not to believe them is the lack of their default privacy settings.
As an internet-enabled user, it is our responsibility to control as much of your privacy as possible. The following are 9 ways to improve your online privacy.
1. Install a Password Manager
The easiest way that hackers frequently use to steal data is to get a batch of username and password from one source and try these combinations elsewhere. For example, suppose hackers obtained your username and password by hacking your phone. They try to log in to banking sites or online stores using the same username and password combinations.
The best way to avoid this is to use a unique and strong password for each online account you use. Having a different password for each site is a golden rule to stay safe online. Remembering long, random passwords effectively prevents brute force attacks. Hackers are not very smart at remembering millions of passwords. Therefore, the best way to do this is to use a password manager. By using the best password manager, you will not have to remember different passwords, and your security will also be maintained. Second, to avoid this, you should know about phone hacking. If you want to learn how to know if your phone is hacked.
2. Update Your Account Information
Take some time and review your account and check if they have the correct information. Include your phone number and email address. If you have a weak password, it will take a while to update. Research shows that providing the correct phone number and email address improves the chances of account recovery in the event of a hack.
3. Use a VPN
The best way to guarantee your security on the web is to use a VPN. It is an encrypted network that ensures that your location and network connection remain safe from all spy eyes. Every time you connect to the Internet via a Wi-Fi network, you need to use a VPN. Suppose you went to a coffee shop and connected to a free Wi-Fi network. You don’t know the security level of that connection. It is possible that another person on that network, without your consent, may steal your data, including confidential information sent from your laptop or mobile device.
A VPN is known to encrypt your Internet traffic, sending it through a server owned by the VPN Company. It means that no one, including the service provider, can spy on your data. A VPN also hides your IP address. Advertisers who want to detect it through that IP address will see the address of the VPN company.
Hiding your location with a VPN server in another country can help you unblock geographically restricted content. While on a strict note, activists and journalists in countries of strict censorship have long used VPN technology to communicate securely.
4. Modify Your Social Media Settings
Almost all social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have privacy settings that are updated for a mobile app and desktop site. If you haven’t been examining your settings for a long time, now is the right time to do so.
Go to the privacy settings section on each of the social media profiles. Decide how much information you want to display to strangers and update the settings to match your needs. Facebook settings are difficult to navigate. Be cautious when choosing options to view your profile as a stranger to make sure you have everything in the right direction. Blocking strangers from seeing your data does not protect your complete privacy. Review your privacy agreements to find out what social media provides with your consent.
5. Go With Software Protection Products
Malware and spyware are two important threats to Internet security. You should go online when you have some form of protection against these threats. Install reliable antivirus and antispyware products on your system and on your mobile device. Choose the products that best suit your needs. If you have a large volume of confidential information or if you participate in certain activities, be sure to choose protection tailored to your needs.
Avoid clicking on strange pop-ups and unsolicited links. Quickly close windows that ask you unexpected questions. Lastly, be sure to download trusted apps from some reputable sources.
6. Update Your Software
Timely updating your system helps protect your system from threats. Many updates come with vulnerability fixes in your software found by the software vendor. These weaknesses are a problem because cybercriminals can use any of these vulnerabilities and can harm your system. Software updates solve these problems and keep the information protected. Prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities by keeping your software updated.
7. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Although two-factor authentication is a bit difficult, it makes your accounts more secure. This authentication means that you must pass an additional layer of authentication in addition to a username and password to gain access to your accounts. If you have confidential data on one of your accounts and if it offers two-factor authentication, you must enable it. Dropbox, Evernote, and Gmail are some examples that provide this security feature.
Two-factor authentication verifies your identity using two different types of authentication. It can be through a mobile phone number or through techniques such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning. In the first case, you are asked to enter a code sent via text message or press a confirmation button on a mobile application. You can also use a physical security key. Microsoft and Google have announced this type of authentication.
8. Avoid Clicking Bait
To improve your online privacy there is also what to click and what not to: clickbait, not just refer to popular videos and cat compilation. You can also compromise the links sent by email, Facebook, and other messaging applications. Phishing links simulate that secure websites aim to trick you into obtaining your login information and credentials. Also, drive-by download pages cause malware to automatically download and infect your device.
Avoid clicking links in text messages or emails unless you are sure they come from a trusted source. Even then, be careful because your trusted source may be hacked, or the message may be false. The same goes for links on various social media sites. If you think a post style is suspicious about what your friend usually does, report it soon.
9. Update Cookies
Cookies mean how websites collect and store information about your browsing history. It means that sites are able to use that data to analyze their online behavior so that they can better advertise their products and services. But, this also means that these websites may sell collected information to a third party. Since we already publish much of our information on the Internet, it will not be a bad idea to keep restrictions on where our data goes.
Not all cookies are harmful, but you pay an adjustment in your settings so that if a cookie is installed on your system, you will be informed. In this way, you will know who is reading your online activity.
Staying safe and maintaining privacy on the Internet is as essential as closing the door while using an ATM. Anyone can be robbed online, as we are physically fit. Enforcing all of the steps could help you improve your online protection, making it impossible for hackers to access your account or network to view sensitive user data. The easiest way to do this is through the use of a VPN and various antivirus software.