www.www.worldexecutivesdigest.com | 10 Tips to Increase Your Privacy and Security on the Internet | In today’s world, it feels as if we have less and less privacy. This guide lists 10 tips to increase your privacy and security on the internet.
Thirty-five percent of Americans have fallen victim to identity and email thefts, sometimes through no fault of their own.
Most people are one major data breach away from having their personal information plucked by the hands of hackers. But there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself from smaller criminals who target individuals rather than corporations.
It all comes down to safe browsing habits. Even some seasoned internet users overlook the importance of maintaining privacy and security on the internet.
But the good news is being safe online isn’t hard — you just need to know how it works. Here’s how to fortify your online privacy and online security.
- Install an Antivirus
Let’s start with the basics: You need an antivirus. An antivirus program protects you from malicious threats that can sneak onto your computer through infected files and sometimes through online advertisements.
Even with safe browsing habits, there’s always a threat of picking up a virus along the way. A good antivirus will not only inform you but also catch the perpetrator before it has time to cause any mayhem, such as logging your keys and stealing passwords and Social Security numbers.
Windows 10 comes pre-installed with Windows Defender, an antivirus. If you’re using a different device or operating system, download an antivirus program if you haven’t already.
- Use a Password Manager
Creating powerful passwords is hard enough. And remembering them? Forget about it.
Nowadays, most cybersecurity experts promote the use of a password manager. This is a single program on your device that creates unique, lengthy passwords for all of your accounts. It takes the hassle out of remembering your passwords and coming up with them in the first place.
- Stop Browser Tracking
When you access any website, your browser will automatically share private information with the domain. This includes data about your browsing device but also private details, such as your search history. These websites use this information to profile and market to you.
Most people should learn how to open incognito tab panels. Incognito doesn’t cache things like search history, so others who use the same computer won’t know anything about that internet session. However, incognito doesn’t stop your browser from sharing private details with online entities.
An extension known as Privacy Badger will disable tracking features, safeguarding your personal information. Some antivirus programs also offer private browsing extensions of their own, which are worth a look if you already have the software.
- Be Wary of Browser Extensions
While browser extensions can enhance online privacy, others seek to steal your personal information without even telling you. To an extent, this practice is against the TOS, but that doesn’t mean developers aren’t trying.
A massive report discovered that 60 million people are taking advantage of browser extensions that steal their data. Always do some research before you download one. In addition to checking extension permissions, try to go with open-source extensions, as the code for these is freely available to the public.
- Hook Into a Landline
Wi-Fi is convenient at home and on-the-go. And most people are happy to trade that convenience for slower internet speeds. But what they may not know is they are trading the strength of their online security, too.
Wi-Fi networks aren’t encrypted, which means it’s easy for other users on the network to spy on all your internet interactions. Log into your bank account at your favorite coffee place and someone else could pick up the password.
If you get the chance, always use an ethernet cable. Yes, even at home. Intruders can sneak onto your home Wi-Fi without you knowing.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Almost every major service offers two-factor authentication. When you sign in with your password, you also receive a code through your phone to finish the login process. If a hacker gets your password, they still can’t log into your account without physical access to your phone.
Sure, it’s extra work. But inputting an additional code is a small price to pay for online security.
- Clean the Cache
Your browser saves all kinds of things, such as your browsing history, cookies, and certain files. Without this service, you’d have to sign in to all your accounts every day. In general, web pages would take longer to load, too.
But this cache of data is also used against you. After all, your browser dishes it out for free when websites want to know more about you.
Don’t let it. Dive into your browser settings and clear the cache from time to time.
- Don’t Save Passwords
Most modern web browsers offer to save your passwords for you. As we’ve said before, you should be using a password manager. In which case, there’s no reason to take advantage of this.
If you won’t use the manager, at least don’t use this. Your browser saves these passwords when enabled — and that means malware or hackers can access them.
- Choose Secure Messaging Apps
Increasing internet privacy is as easy as being discerning. Don’t use a messaging app just because it’s popular. Many apps, whether on phones or computers, have terrible security.
For example, Facebook Messenger doesn’t encrypt messages. A hacker can hijack them in transit and spy on your personal conversations. WhatsApp is a great encrypted alternative, and Telegram works too so long as you stick to “secret” chats.
- Manage Social Media Privacy Settings
By now you know social media is a privacy hazard. But you can’t stop using it. At least social media platforms give you some customization over your privacy settings.
There’s a lot to dig into here and they vary from platform to platform. You’ll want to take a look at them yourself to decide what’s best for you. But in short, there’s no reason to allow these websites to share your private information with any third-party.
Disable these default policies wherever they turn up.
Boost Privacy and Security on the Internet
Through the nature of its design, the internet is an open and accessible forum. Protecting yourself completely is next to impossible unless you’re a networking wiz. However, even a basic user can take control of their privacy and security on the internet, protecting themselves from the vast majority of online threats.
It’s worth your time. Because otherwise, you could lose countless hours dealing with the fallout of identity theft.
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