Knowing how to maintain your privacy online is an invaluable skill. Here are some tips for safeguarding privacy on the Internet:

Protect your online privacy in 7 steps

Knowing how to preserve your privacy online is an invaluable skill. If you care about your privacy online and want to keep your identity safe, here is a detailed explanation on how to safeguard your privacy on the Internet.

Online privacy: what is it?

Online privacy is definitely a topic we hear about more than ever right now, and not just on the news. Governments and digital giants share a great concern about privacy, even if they often disagree on what it means.

But what does it actually mean? Online privacy essentially refers to defending the right to keep personal information to oneself.

Surprisingly, there are not many places where there is legislation defending these rights. Even when privacy laws exist on the Internet, not all companies abide by them.

Internet security and privacy are two distinct but related concepts. Lawful data collection is typically covered by privacy laws, while cybersecurity prioritizes unlawful data collection (for example, protecting your accounts from hackers).

However, there are many overlaps. Privacy is enhanced by strong security, while strong security is maintained by better privacy. You can improve both by performing a few simple actions.

Use private browsing

Private browsing is one of the most useful and popular browser security features. This browser function reduces the tracking of data connected to your navigation. In Chrome you find the Incognito function while in Microsoft Edge it is called InPrivate, and in any case other famous browsers offer similar functions.

Private browsing is highly recommended because:

  • Removes browsing history from browser history index;
  • At the end of the session, cookies are removed from the browser cache.

By not tracking your usage, potential intrusions into your activities can be reduced. This is a particularly important security prevention against data theft. If someone secretly accesses your computer through your browsing history, scammers may be able to steal some valuable personal information or gain access to your financial accounts.

Without cookies, it is more difficult to track the user online. Much information about the user, including browsing history, could be stored in cookies. Malicious cookies are also known to be able to bypass security measures. For this reason it is useful to delete cookies or use a browser in private to avoid them.

Also, if you want even more peace of mind, you can use a browser extension like Privacy Badger, which blocks trackers and ads. In this way, the annoying and invasive advertisements will no longer appear.

Many websites offer the possibility to refuse data collection, but this must be done manually. While doing so greatly reduces the amount of data collected, it doesn't completely fix the problem.

Use a strong password

The most important, and sometimes only, defense we have against hackers and identity theft is a strong password policy. A strong password is designed to be difficult for a person or program to guess. It must be long and contain a mix of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers and symbols.

Passphrases, which are longer and more secure than traditional passwords, are also recommended.

If you haven't already, add your password or passcodes to all of your devices now.

Even a strong password, however, can be bypassed by hackers if your device doesn't automatically lock. In other words, once you turn off your iPhone or turn on the screen saver, make sure your device asks for the password as soon as possible.

The optimal setting is “30 seconds” or “immediately” for devices that use fast biometric identification such as fingerprint scanning or facial recognition instead of a passcode.

Since you most likely have numerous accounts, using a password manager makes it easier to protect your data. A password manager is a software application designed to store and manage credentials online. It allows users to generate and store long, unique passwords for all their online accounts in an encrypted database. Password managers also provide a secure space to store passwords, eliminating the need to remember them.

Last but not least, enable two-factor authentication for all accounts that support it. This is a backup security technique that can keep you safe. Two-factor authentication is what happens when you are asked to enter a code sent to your phone.

However, since authenticator apps are more secure than SMS, we recommend that you avoid using SMS.

Use a VPN

Most online risks can be easily protected with virtual private networks (VPNs). They offer strong encryption, which increases security and eliminates many vulnerabilities. Never use public WiFi without the protection of a VPN, as the risks are very high.

Unfortunately, most VPN systems have some drawbacks, such as slow browsing performance. This problem is more noticeable on older hardware or less robust WiFi connections. On the market, you will find many VPN service offers in exchange for a monthly fee.

Prioritize data security

Your data can be encrypted so that no one can decrypt it without a key. It's useful for ensuring text messages and emails on your phone are safe from prying eyes, as well as safeguarding information on your PC.

You can set passwords on specific documents and choose the type of encryption to use on your computer. You can encrypt files, folders, removable USB devices, flash drives, and more with solutions that use Encrypting File System (EFS) and disk encryption.

Share less stuff online

Reducing the amount of information disclosed is the best precaution to take against online scammers.

When it comes to sharing knowledge, social networking is where people think first, and it's a great place to start. Photos of yourself or loved ones, geotagged posts, or any other information you don't want strangers to know should be treated with extreme caution.

Almost all apps collect information about your actions, beyond social networking platforms, and they rarely protect your data as carefully as you would expect.

Here are some strategies to avoid oversharing on the Internet:

  • Posting intimate details about your relationships, friendships, family matters, or personal drama;
  • Post embarrassing photos or videos of yourself or others;
  • Post your meals regularly;
  • Share photos of your children;
  • Be less open in information collection forms. Leave out any “optional” details, such as your last name or phone number;
  • Create a disposable email address. On the Dark Web, email lists are often rented or sold and can end up in the wrong hands. Create a disposable email just for social media;
  • Impose a limit on collaborative playlists, albums, or folders. Your data is more likely to be leaked or compromised the more people have access to it.

Make frequent backups

If you back up the data you create on your devices or network, you can easily and quickly restore it in case something should happen. Backup protects our data from malicious hackers and ransomware, as well as a technical failure.

In data management, data backup is crucial because it can help prevent human errors, hardware failures, virus attacks, power outages, and natural disasters.

It is one of the safest techniques to ensure data safety in the event of a disaster and is used to maintain a safe archive of critical information. If your primary data becomes corrupted, backups also help save you time and money.

For added data security, back up to an Internet service, an external hard drive, or both.

Always double check unknown links

Never trusting is one of the most basic ways to protect your identity online. In other words, carefully evaluate (and verify) the link before clicking it. This reduces the device's exposure to spyware and viruses, which is a great approach to security.

One of the most widespread techniques is phishing, which is done by sending e-mails including a link on which you are asked to click. Phishing emails can appear to be from, say, a company or authority figure, and can be quite persuasive.

Usually, the goal is to gain access to your login details. Then they are used to enter different devices, transmit malware and/or steal data.

Defending privacy online is worth it

In the digital age, almost every action is tracked and stored across vast swathes of cyberspace. We all lead virtual lives, where our personal information is readily available to those with the right tools to access it.

Unfortunately, this means that it is possible for bad actors to gain access to our private information, which can be used to harm our financial security, our relationships and even our physical safety.

But maintaining online privacy can help protect us from dangerous cyber-attacks and identity theft, and with a little effort, we can keep our private information safe and secure from prying eyes.

error: Content is protected !!