Seven Effective Tips to Help You Safeguard Your Internet Privacy
As new technologies are penetrating deeper into the lives of average customers, users are enjoying immense benefits arising as a result of improved productivity and convenience. However, the increasing reliance on these technologies has brought personal privacy under some serious risks. There are thousands of professional cybercriminals waiting for you out there and seeking to exploit your online life by accessing every bit of the data for their own, illegal means.
There is no doubt that the internet is a great place for exchanging communication and fetching information. But, this same platform is also full of several threats. Unfortunately, you cannot eliminate all these threats to the core and instead, have to prepare well to dodge them along the way. Some of the most common threats you have got to learn to deal with are listed as follows:
- Malware – comes in several forms, ranging from spyware and worms to Trojans and beyond. These programs go on executing a variety of malicious functions on their own such as stealing, encoding or deleting sensitive data, modifying or hijacking computing tasks and monitoring computer actions without your consent.
- Worm – spreads through tricking the user and infecting the computer machine by exploiting its security holes in software. It can corrupt files, steal delicate information, and even modify your entire system settings. The worst part is it can self-replicate and create its copies quickly in large volume; giving a backdoor to cybercriminals to access everything.
- Spam – refers to all those unsolicited messages in your junk folder. It is a clever trick used by the sender to get his message across a huge audience cheaply and efficiently. Generally, they are considered non-dangerous but can at times include links to entice you to click and install spiteful software on your computer.
- Phishing – are schemes used at the starting point of most successful cyberattacks. In these cases, a malicious link is used to disguise as your bank or common web service and take in all your account details, personal information, or passwords. These days, messages, phone calls, apps, and social media quizzes are also being employed for the purpose.
- Adware – consists of software designed to track data of users’ browsing habits and showing advertising banners and pop-ups based on those habits. These are not illegal in particular because such applications collect data only with your consent. But they do slow down your processor and internet speed. (Note: An adware downloaded without consent is always considered malicious).
Now that you know the top-most threats you may encounter while online, following are seven effective tips to improve your privacy and help you stay safe:
- Update your Social Privacy
When you are operating social accounts, you have detailed personal information visible to everybody on the internet. Almost all social media settings are by default, open to the public. That is why we strongly recommend keeping control of those settings and deciding what info you want to share with whom.
- Be Mindful of Storing Information
Your restriction of oversharing should not be limited to just social media. You should be cautious when using online storage services such as Google Docs and Cloud Solutions as well. Don’t store your list of passwords or passport scans in there because if they get stolen or deleted, data recovery can become extremely challenging.
- Check your Bluetooth Devices
Bluetooth devices have become a perfect resource of convenience, but as a user, you have to be quite mindful with regard to their functionality. Things like wireless headphones, keyboards, keychain finders, and other tools that you leave activated without even realizing make you vulnerable to random and evil-intended passerby. So, make sure you switch off the Bluetooth when not in use.
- Ensure End-to-End Encryption
Today, most of the apps allow end-to-end encryption messaging. Still, there are a few that decrypt all the messages on the transit and store them on servers. And, what if cybercriminals get access to those servers? Well, to avoid that risk, you better choose the end-to-end encryption way. With that, even your messaging service provider cannot see the messages.
- Deploy Strong Password Strategy
This is something that you have been hearing from all the cyber experts. Using weak passwords to protect your sensitive files is unwise and similar to shouting the information to a stranger passing by. Now, if you think it is impossible to set and remember that unique password each time, use a password manager for that purpose.
- Install Antivirus Software
Irrespective of whether or not your devices are connected to the internet, you ought to have a reliable and preferably a paid version of antivirus software installed and running at all times in your device. That way, even if someone tries to invade your system and critical files, the software can quickly identify it and provide a stronger defense against the fraud/damage.
- Change Mobile App and Browser Permissions
Every mobile app and extension you download asks for a variety of permissions to access your contacts, files, camera, location, and so on. Some of the bogus apps and extensions then use all this information for marketing, and sometimes worse. Therefore, review as to what permissions you have given and limit them if possible.
Maintaining internet privacy is now as crucial as shutting your home’s entry door. With the help of all the above steps, you can improve protection and reduce the possibilities of hacking into your accounts and connections. However, since the uncertainty is going to prevail no matter what you do, it is best to keep a regular backup of your data and the contact number of emergency data recovery services saved on your speed dial list.