The world is fast-changing, and every day, your private data remains at risk if you use the internet. In 2017, more than 50% of online retailers in the US were victims of cybercrimes. In 2021, these numbers have increased, and this is why more people are starting to pay more attention to online privacy.
When a cyber-criminal attacks an online retailer, it means that their company data and that of their clients are compromised. Even without this kind of threat, there are numerous other reasons for you to be concerned about your privacy online.
Advertisers on social platforms rely on your social network service providers for information about everything you are doing. This includes spying on your web browsing activities, accessing your contacts, your locations, and more. This is used for targeted ads and to influence our purchases. The tricky part is knowing the intentions of the person accessing this crucial data.
There have been cases of ISP spying on their clients and availing this data to government agencies.
Even with all these threats to your online privacy, there are tools you can use to protect your online activity by keeping it private.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Gone are the days when VPNs were only recommended when using public Wi-Fi networks or public networks. Today, it is important to ensure your devices are protected by a VPN, even when using private Wi-Fi at home or at work.
A VPN encrypts the data transferred between your device and the internet. This way, it becomes almost impossible for prying eyes to intercept your data. Your data appears scrambled information rendering it unreadable to anyone trying to spy.
Some of the issues a VPN can protect you from including ISP spying, geo-restrictions, copyright issues, and IP/location tracking.
Whenever you are prompted to update your operating system, apps, or system, always allow installation immediately. These updates come with security bug fixes found in the previous version. Some of these bugs may contain loopholes that can be used by cybercriminals to access your information.
Ensure you continuously install updates to stay ahead of hackers who develop better ways to compromise your privacy and safety online.
There are some browser add-ons you can use to protect your online presence even further. You can use add-on blockers for advertisements such as uBlock Origin, HTTPS Everywhere to ensure all the sites you visit are secured and NoScript to monitor and block unwanted scripts running on the websites you visit.
Worth noting, avoid using browser-based password managers that store your usernames and passwords in plain text. This leaves your account details vulnerable to exploitation.
Password Managing Apps
When it comes to passwords, the topic is broad and encompasses different aspects of password management, including password strength and password storage. When it comes to protecting your privacy, password safety should be an important aspect to consider.
Instead of storing your passwords on the web browser, you can consider using a password manager application. With the right password manager, you can also get access to secure and convenient browser extensions.
While this is not necessarily a privacy tool, it can help keep your computer safe, which safeguards your information. With the right antivirus program, you can avoid downloading or visiting phishing websites because the antivirus can block access.
An antivirus program also acts as a backup to your computer’s firewall by blocking access to your files through malicious links or programs. Invest in the best antivirus to get the best benefits.
Even with the strongest passwords, there is a small chance that hackers with the right programs can bypass these passwords. Two-step authentication is the best backup to strong passwords. You need to set up two-factor authentication on your accounts and download the authenticator app.
This app will generate a code to enter whenever you need to use an account that is 2FA protected. With the app, you will get a different code each time. Without the app, hackers cannot access any of your 2FA-protected accounts.
With these tools, you can protect your online privacy online and make cybersecurity the least of your worries.
Bonus tip: Adjust Your Social Media Privacy Settings
Marketing companies and online retail sites like Amazon and Cambridge Analytica collaborate with social media platforms where user personal information is exchanged for revenue.
To ensure you are not a victim of these business dealings, you can configure your privacy on social networks. This allows you to determine which information you want to share with the public and which information to keep private.
Navigate to the social app privacy section and choose how much information to share on your general profile and what to share with just your friends.