With cyber-crime constantly on the increase and the growing number of security breaches reported allover the world, the need for healthy privacy habits on the internet is more important than ever. There are lots of information on the internet ranging from personal data to business information and these information can be used as a weaponry of scam to defraud individual and companies.
So what is the best way to avoid these risks and maintain your online privacy? To help you determine where to start, here are the top online do’s and don’ts both individuals and businesses should follow.
Minimize Personal Details
Remove personal data from your profile, including birth dates, addresses and location. Don’t share anything on your profiles publicly, and minimize who can see what you share about your daily life and routine.
Don’t Save Financial Info On Shopping Sites
There is no foolproof way to safeguard your information once it is online, but you can secure your financial information more efficiently by removing it altogether from certain shopping sites. When sites ask to save your credit card info, decline to do so and instead spend the extra minutes entering your info when you buy again.
Use Complex, Unique Passwords
One of the most critical aspects of keeping information safe is to utilize complex passwords. Often, people reuse their same password for several applications. While many of these are seemingly irrelevant, in the right hands, a hacked Instagram account can lead a hacker to sensitive data if a user uses the same password repeatedly. In addition, slow down and use caution before clicking links.
Check Social Privacy Settings
Just about everyone has some type of social media account, and a lot of people overshare on those accounts. They’ll add their phone number, post pictures of their house and kids, and so on. So, a good beginner’s tip for online privacy is to check social privacy settings. Make sure your profile is locked down so only your friends can see it. Also, be wary of what you post on social media in general.
Use The Right Tracker Blocking Tools
Using the right tool is critical. It is better if you install an app like Ghostery to block trackers, popups and ads. This kind of tool helps prevent the collection and accumulation of personal browsing information, and it has the added benefit of speeding up page loads since most ads and trackers simply can’t operate.
Always Use A VPN
Using a virtual private network (VPN) is very importance. The proper use of a VPN, from a respected software provider, can dramatically increase an individual’s privacy online. Indeed, when used in conjunction with select Web browsers like Firefox or search engines like DuckDuckGo, you can essentially remain invisible online and truly safeguard your identity.
Develop Smart Habits
Public (open) Wi-Fi is highly dangerous, as the traffic can be intercepted. Use a hot spot when possible, and if you must use public Wi-Fi, use a private VPN to secure your traffic. Also, use complex passwords, disable auto-complete forms and make sure sites are using HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). Always make sure your browser is up to date, and when possible, use two-factor authentication for any sites that offer it.
Make Security A Habit, Not A Process
Minimize the sharing of personal details. The majority of identity hacks happen through social engineering. Use a strong password generator and store like LastPass and rotate your passwords periodically. Use caution when using public computers, and clear your cookies. Avoid entering financial information on a public computer.
Use Robust, Up-To-Date Antivirus Software
Very critical advice would be to have antivirus software installed and have it up and running. With so many types of software being used by browsers, app stores and OS updates, it’s difficult to keep track of all the software that’s installed in your system, and you can end up being spied on by malware or bloatware. A robust, up-to-date antivirus can take care of your privacy and security woes.
Practice Mindful Cookie Management
Cookies are little data pieces stored on your computer. They allow computers to store information like passwords and user data. While they can increase convenience for logins, they also run the risk of allowing companies to track potential clients. In most Web browsers, under Options or History, you can view all of your cookies. Filter them and delete the ones related to personal information.
Don’t Give Companies Your Private Information
Don't store, enter or say anything online that you want to keep private. If you have private data that you need to store or share digitally, you need to encrypt it. Don’t rely on online services (especially the free ones) for your privacy.
Assume There Is No Privacy
We’re at the point where any semblance of privacy online is a clawback from an open, tracked and surveilled internet. Assume everything you do online isn’t private. Then take steps to carve out some privacy by limiting how much you are tracked. Use blocking tools. Understand the trade-offs when using “free” services online. Choose software and hardware platforms that act on privacy, not against it.