Nowadays, a lot of our work, our hobbies, and our free time are done and spent online. Come to think of it, it isn’t easy to imagine a job or hobby that doesn’t require at least occasional access to the Internet.
But this constant need to be connected comes with a few issues, privacy being the most prevalent among them. Our data is stored online, and it’s accessible as well. Data breaches and data leaks happen all the time. Because of this, it’s important you take your online privacy seriously and do whatever it takes to protect yourself.
5 Ways To Protect Your Online Privacy
1. Set Up A VPN On Your Network
Countless dangers lurk on the Internet. Most of these dangers lurk in the dark, unable to be noticed by the average user. Perhaps one of the biggest threats facing online users nowadays is the threat of spying. Cybercriminals take advantage of the lax security public networks often possess (no encryption, lack of required identification key, etc.).
This means that cybercriminals can view your online activity and spy on your activity without you knowing. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening. One way you can keep yourself safe from snooping cyber criminals requires you to buy a VPN. Buy one, and you’ll be able to encrypt your device’s data, meaning it’ll be impossible for cybercriminals to see you on the network, let alone spy on you.
2. Create Strong Passwords
Certain websites force users to create long, drawn-out passwords that incorporate symbols, numbers, and letters. These can be annoying, but using strong passwords for all of your accounts is important. After all, if you use a weak password for your account, the chances of a hacker breaking into it increase tenfold.
Not only should you create strong passwords, but you should make each account’s password unique. Using the same password for all of your accounts puts all of them at risk since a hacker would only need one password to access all of the accounts.
3. Keep Your Devices Up-To-Date
No device ships out with perfect software. Bugs, glitches, missing features, non-functioning apps, and programs: all hardware and software launches deal with these in one way or another. And while these bugs and glitches will be fixed, security patches are constantly popping up, and for a good reason.
New threats pop up every day, so developers are forced to play catch-up, releasing security patches and hotfixes frequently. Not downloading these patches puts you and your device at risk of infection, meaning your identity could be at risk.
Keeping your devices and respective software up-to-date will help keep known threats from stealing your information and infecting your device.
4. Be Careful When Using Public Computers
Libraries, academic institutions, and even some workplaces offer free use of their public computers if you need to finish an assignment, do some research, or take a quiz/test/exam/etc.
While public computers are useful for people who don’t have their own and are therefore necessary, they’re not secure. At all. Because public computers are used by multiple people throughout the day and are not factory-restored between people, you must use public computers with caution; else, you’ll put your information at risk.
Don’t log in to personal accounts on the devices (log out immediately if you do), don’t open up or download any important documents onto the device, and try to leave zero traces you were on the device.
5. Don’t Trust Anything, “Too Good To Be True.”
Imagine you log in to your Gmail account and are greeted with an email claiming you’ve “won” a “free” Sony Bravia TV. Do you click on it? Do you enter in your personal information the form will most certainly ask you for?
If you would, you’d be scammed. These types of phishing scams litter the Internet. Their purpose is to lure unsuspecting users in and persuade them to enter their personal information for the chance of a reward. But in reality, giving away your information to these sites ends up with you facing a case of identity theft.
If you ever come across anything online that seems too good to be true, it likely is, and you shouldn’t go for it or even entertain the thought of doing so.
Your privacy means more than you think it may. If you make the wrong decision, click the wrong thing—forgo your privacy for even a second—you risk identity theft, malware, and fraud. With these five tips, you’ll be on your way to set a standard for online privacy—a standard others should follow.
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