Worried about how much of your private information is on the internet and vulnerable to theft or misuse? You’re not alone. Online privacy is an important issue. Millions of people are unaware of how their personal information is being used, collected or shared online and sometimes exploited by businesses or individuals.
But there are steps you can take to help manage and protect your financial and personal information while you visit your favourite social media, news and entertainment sites.
For Data Privacy Week, we’re sharing 8 ways that you can protect your privacy online…
1) LIMIT THE PERSONAL INFORMATION YOU SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Don’t overshare on social media. Providing too much information on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram could make it easier for cybercriminals to obtain identifying information, which could allow them to steal your identity or access your financial information. To protect your online privacy, ignore the “About Me” fields in your social media profiles and explore different privacy settings to limit who can and can’t see what you share.
2) USE STRONG PASSWORDS
When creating a password, choose something that will not be easily cracked or decoded. Never use a word or number that someone can link back to you such as a first, middle, or last name, a spouse or child’s name, address, phone number, employer, or other identifying letters or numbers. Mix up the letters and numbers used in your password, try using symbols and a combination of upper and lowercase letters when possible to further protect yourself from online security breaches.
3) BROWSE IN PRIVATE MODE
If you don’t want your computer to save your browsing history, temporary internet files or cookies, do your web surfing in incognito or private mode. But remember that private modes aren’t completely private. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can still see your browsing activity. If you are searching on a company computer, so can your employer. The websites you visit can also track you.
4) USE A DIFFERENT SEARCH ENGINE
If you’re like many web surfers, you rely heavily on Google as your main go-to search engine. But you don’t have to. Privacy is one reason why people prefer to use anonymous search engines. This type of search engine doesn’t collect or share your search history or clicks. Anonymous search engines can also block ad trackers on the websites you visit. DuckDuckGo is a well-known example of a private search engine, as well as SwissCows and Startpage which are also private search engines you can use to protect your privacy online.
5) USE A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK
A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. Using a VPN is very important when you’re on public Wi-Fi at a library, coffee shop or other public location. A VPN will make it more difficult for cybercriminals to breach your online privacy and access your personal information.
6) BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU CLICK
One of the ways hackers can compromise your online privacy is through phishing attempts. Phishing is where scammers try to trick you into providing valuable financial or personal information. They’ll often do this by sending fake emails that appear to be from banks, credit card providers, or other financial institutions. Don’t fall for these scams! You can protect yourself by hovering over emails and links, reading them carefully and confirming the email with the company in question.
7) UPDATE YOUR MOBILE DEVICES
Many of us spend more time surfing the web, answering emails, and watching videos on our smartphones than we do on our laptops. It’s important to put as much effort into protecting our online privacy on our phones and tablets as on our computers. Make sure to regularly install the latest software updates to ensure maximum protection on your devices.
8) USE QUALITY ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE
Always install antivirus software on all your devices. This software can keep hackers from remotely taking over your computer, accessing your personal and financial information and tracking your location. Install free verified antivirus apps such as Bitdefender, Norton Mobile Security and McAfee.
LOOKING FOR MORE HELP?
If you’re still looking for more ways to protect your identity and privacy online, we specialise in network security, remote desktop support and much more. We can help you and your business protect your personal information by simply getting in touch with us today.