Protecting your privacy online is one of the major ways of protecting yourself from cyber-attacks.
With Data leaks here and there, the marketing sector is tracking your online activity, shady people exploring your photos shared on social networks, the list is endless…
However, we do not have to consider it impossible, you do have control over your data and in this post, we will show you 10 ways to protect your online privacy and security.
1. Check the privacy settings on your social networks
Your social media accounts contain a lot of information about you and you would be surprised by the amount of data that is visible to any user on the Internet.
Therefore, we highly recommend that you check your privacy settings, it is you who has to decide what information you want to share with complete strangers and which with your friends, or even, what you want to keep just for yourself.
2. Do not keep your private information in public storage
Beyond networks, do not use online information exchange services to store your private data.
For example, Google Docs is not the place to store a list of passwords and Dropbox is not the place for copies of your passport, unless they are in an encrypted file.
3. Avoid tracking
When you visit a web page, your browser reveals a lot of information about you and your browsing history.
The marketing industry uses this information to understand your tastes and attract you with unsolicited ads.
Sorry to burst your bubble, incognito mode cannot prevent this kind of tracking, you need special tools.
Special tools like a VPN, ad blocking browser extensions, Tor Browser, etc. will help prevent this kind of tracking
4. Keep your primary email address and phone number private
Your reward for sharing your email address and phone number? Much spam in email and hundreds of automated calls.
Although you cannot avoid sharing this information with online services and online stores, do not share it with anyone on social networks.
And consider creating a separate, disposable address and, if possible, a phone number for those cases as well.
5. Use messaging apps with end-to-end encryption
Most modern messaging applications use encryption, but in many cases, they call it encryption in transit, the messages are decrypted at the provider and stored on their servers.
What if someone hacked into those servers? Don’t take that risk, choose end-to-end encryption, this way, not even the messaging service provider can see your conversations.
- Use an end-to-end encrypted messaging app like WhatsApp and Telegram.
- Note that Facebook, Messenger, Telegram, and Google Allo do not use end-to-end encryption by default. To enable it, manually open a secret chat.
6. Use strong passwords
A password length of 12 characters or less won’t protect your online privacy, let alone keep you safe from cyber-attacks.
It’s almost impossible to memorize long, unique passwords for all the online services that you use.
However, with the help of a password manager, you only have to remember a single master password.
- Use long passwords on all websites (15 characters or more).
- Use a different password for each device.
7. Check the permissions of your mobile applications and browser extensions
Mobile applications request permissions to access contacts or files in the device storage and use the camera, microphone, geolocation and more.
Some mobile apps cannot function without these permissions, but others use this information for marketing (or worse).
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to control which applications are allowed. The same is true of browser extensions, which also tend to spy.
- Check the permissions you give to mobile applications.
- Don’t install browser extensions unless you need them. Check the permissions you grant them.
8. Protect your phone and computer with passwords or codes
Our computers and phones store a lot of information that we would prefer to keep private, so protect it with passwords.
These passwords don’t have to be complicated and unique, but they should keep strangers out.
On mobile devices, try a little harder, use 6-digit codes or passwords, instead of four-digit and screen unlock patterns.
For devices that support biometric authentication, such as fingerprint reading or facial recognition, this technology usually works well, but remember that it has limitations.
9. Disable notifications on your lock screen
Protecting your phone with a long and strong password is not just enough, you have to stop or prevent notifications from showing on your lock screen.
This way no one can gossip about your business.
If you want notification info to stop appearing on the lock screen, you will need to configure your notifications correctly on your iOS and Android device(s).
10. Keep your privacy on Wi-Fi networks
Public Wi-Fi networks don’t encrypt traffic, so anyone on the same network can snoop through your stuff. Try not to transmit sensitive information (usernames, passwords, credit card details, etc.) on a public Wi-Fi network, and use a VPN to encrypt your data and protect yourself from snoopers.
- If you want to avoid risks, try not to use public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible.
- If you have no other option, use a VPN.
In conclusion, if you find this information help, please let us know and if you have any suggestion on how our privacy and security online can be improved, let us know in the comment section below.
Thank you for reading this post!