The internet is for sure turning into a very dangerous place, especially in today’s highly tech-based environment. There is an increasing number of malware, viruses, and other phishing scams on the internet. Identity theft and data leaks have become a common thing, regardless of the site you are visiting.
Some of the most reputable sites have also grown to become data hogs as they collect, track and even store different types of personal data. Even though there are promises that the data will not be used in any malicious way or without your consent, the manner in which it is tracked and saved can raise an eyebrow with respect to your privacy as well as finances.
In this regard, the most important thing is to ensure your privacy when browsing the web stays safe. Even though this process is turning into a more and more difficult task, it is very paramount that you use all means possible to ensure that you stay safe when browsing the internet. As a result, our team of experts has prepared a list of the best 5 ways you can use to protect your personal data and maintain your privacy.
The basics of staying protected when online
There are probably things you know about staying safe when browsing the web. Simple and obvious they may seem, but neglecting them may be the first highway to the many troubling scams you may come across on your device.
Things like suspicious emails should not be opened. This is especially if they are associated to your financial services, utility accounts or even social media. Make sure you get rid of such emails, links, and attachments unless you are very sure of their sources. Rather than follow links in your emails, you’d rather visit the official website directly from your browser and not via the provided link.
Another basic way of staying safe when browsing is to use/install the latest software. Furthermore, make sure the auto update feature of all your software is turned on. Also be watchful of offers that seem to be too good to be true, demand for quick action or maybe ask for your personal data.
In addition to these basics, here are 6 things you need to check in order to ensure your online experience is safe and private.
One of the best places to start with your online privacy is making sure all privacy settings are up to date, be it on websites, apps, social media services etc. usually, there is a settings menu available from where you can access the privacy settings of your website or service. Make sure you change the default privacy settings to something that suits your privacy needs. You can limit the number of people whom you share your info with to just “friends” or people you know and in this way, your info will not be overshared.
When cookies are blocked, websites have a hard time getting details of your last login, your username and other details like auto sign-in. This is a good way of staying safe when online even though it might have some unwanted effects in some cases. You can use browser plugins to easily block cookies on your web browser.
Many of today’s websites come with an option of linking accounts, for instance, Google. There are even sites that allow usage of other accounts to log in, for instance, use Google or Facebook to sing up for a certain service. Even though it’s a very convenient idea, linking accounts has its negatives. In case one account is compromised, there are high chances that the others linked to it will be compromised as well. To ensure your info stays safe, avoid linking accounts.
Use antivirus services, firewalls, and secure internet connections
Since we are talking of staying safe when online, your privacy will be very much dependent on how secure your connection is. Avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots for connection as well as using weak passwords for your personal Wi-Fi network.
Using a firewall is another way to protect your information when online. This simply protects your device from unwelcome network traffic. However, you will be happy to learn that many top operating systems in the present day come with in-built firewalls, thus, your task is only to turn them on.
Operating on a system without an antivirus is a great risk. It is essential to install an updated antivirus to help keep away any viruses that may harm your PC or ‘steal’ your data.
Use strong passwords
When it comes to keeping a secure browsing environment, you must ensure that your username and password are very strong. Since almost every website you visit requires a username and password, it has become a common trend for people to develop simple (weak) passwords for easy remembrance or simply use the same password on every site. However, easy and repetitive passwords can be very predictable, thus, make sure passwords are at least eight characters and have mixed characters as well.
When creating a password, avoid using your username as the password. In addition, use a different combination on different websites to make things difficult for hackers. If you can’t remember all of the passwords you use on different sites, the best way of getting around it is using a password manager application. This app will help in organizing and protecting your passwords, in addition to auto logging you into different websites.