People can no longer live without the internet. Whoever you are, whatever you do for a living, the chances are you’re on it every day from multiple devices and for hours at a time. The World Without Web is over. But for all that we’ve gained with the internet – I’m looking at you, cute pictures of cats, it’s a haven for hackers and at times a surefire way to let strangers access your data. So we must learn how to protect our online privacy on the internet.
Most of us don’t have a clue how to anything too complicated when it comes to technology and the internet. Hackers, on the other hand, are often portrayed as geniuses sitting behind a screen, tapping their way into the backdoors of your computer code to make a living. But in reality, there are some very simple tips to remember when we surf online that can make a difference in our online privacy protection.
Remember, we get on the internet with all sort of devices, not just our PCs. Think about: smartphones, tablets, smart watches, etc. Compared with PCs, mobile devices like smartphones are more at risk of security breaches. Therefore, it’s just as necessary to remember the following tips to protect your online privacy on those as well as on your PC. The good thing is, they’re easy-peasy.
Social Media Tips to Protect Your Online Privacy
Tip#1: Don’t share too much private information on your social media accounts.
Think back to that birthday photo you just scrolled past on Facebook or Instagram. Or think of those family picture albums you want to share with friends on social media. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Facebook has algorithms that ‘read’ photos and do facial recognition. And companies use these measures to extend their business into our lives and accurately track and target our desires. Just notify your friends about that wedding? No wonder your seeing adverts for honeymoon holidays. All that might be fairly harmless, but what about when this information is sold to unknown third parties or hacked through security breaches (it happens).
When you edit your social media profile, don’t write too much private information on it. Your birth date, email address, phone number, company, location and your social security number MUSTN’T be described in your social media profile. And be careful about posting images with sensitive information in them. Check all your social media profiles right now to eliminate the information that may possibly compromise your online privacy.
Tip#2: Use a browser to replace apps.
As far as social media is concerned, it’s safer to login to your account on a web browser than an app. Did you ever notice when you first installed and used your social media app and get ready to post a picture, the app first asks for your approval to visit your album and camera? As you click “OK”, the app gains access to your photos stored in your phone, forever. The same process goes to other situations too like video posting. Therefore, social media apps have direct access to your private information and compromise your online privacy. Using a browser rather than an app won’t leave you vulnerable to that kind of personal data invasion.
Tip#3: Create a strong password.
Your password should be optimized so that it can’t easily be guessed. So don’t use basic information like your data of birth! And, though it is more difficult to remember, make sure never to use the same password for all your social media accounts. Once one of your accounts is hacked, the information in other accounts suffer from the same risk. To guarantee your online privacy, use a unique password in all your accounts.
In addition, passwords should be complicated enough so that those bad guys lurking out there can’t guess them based on the first few attempts if they’ve found access to your personal data through public profiles. A strong password should contain upper- and lower-case letters, more than 8 characters, and include numbers.
Tip#4: Turn off your location.
Your geo-location is a dangerous element when it comes to your online privacy. All your online information is virtual unless it gets related with your geo-location. Once your geo-location is exposed, all that personal data floating around out there now has a home, making what was once just a small security risk or invasion of privacy a very real-world threat. In the internet world, all people can get access to is a simple sketch of you based on images and basic personal information, but your authentic identity will be known as your location is given out. Before you post on your social media account, turn off the location option to protect your online privacy.
Tip#5: Set your privacy option on your social media accounts.
Social media lets you create a platform for your own performance. However, it’s your right to choose your audience. Setting your privacy options in social media accounts is the way to do this. To protect your online privacy, you can set your account so that your posts cannot be seen by everyone on the internet. Only your friends or your followers can see what is happening about you – or you can even set it to just yourself as the audience. Those who don’t follow you can’t see anything you do. Then, your online privacy can never be invaded while you’re on the internet.
Tip#6: Remember to log out of your accounts.
If you close your social media account without truly logging out, it means that your account keeps open and running in the background. That will contribute to security loopholes and put your online privacy at risk, especially if you are using a public computer or device. Worse still, the process goes on with you completely unaware. When your information gets exposed in the background, it will be stored by third party or web hackers.
Therefore, you must log out from each account you log into before shutting your device. It does cost some time, but believe us, it’s way better than losing your security and privacy.
Browsing Tips to Protect Your Online Privacy
Tip#7: Use private browsing mode.
Each web browser has its own private browsing mode to protect users’ online privacy. For example, Google has incognito, Firefox has private window, and Internet Explorer has InPrivate Browsing. It’s particularly useful to use private browsing mode on your web browsers since it won’t save your browsing activities, cookies, or remember the information you filled in on online forms (such as your credit card details!). Private browsing plays an active role in protecting your online privacy and it also stops people using the same device as you knowing what you have been browsing online. Need to visit a website secretly? That’s what private browsing is there for.
Tip#8: Don’t always stick to the same browser.
Have you heard the famous saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? That’s never been truer than with your online privacy protection. As you surf on the internet on a web browser, all your browsing activities will be recorded by the web browser when you don’t use private browsing mode. And, all your personal data leaves a track on this web browser. To protect your online privacy, you shouldn’t put all your personal data on the same browser.
Tip#9: Don’t allow website to send you a notification or get access to cookies.
As you surf on a website, it’s common to see a pop-up saying:
As you surf on a website, it’s common to see a pop-up saying:
Besides the sentence is an “Accept” button. Once you click it, your data will be saved and tracked. To protect your online privacy, therefore, you’d better not click the “Accept” button.
Tip#10: Turn off the auto-fill option.
It’s convenient to let web browsers remember your account information so that you don’t need to repeat it when you get ready to sign into an account on a new website. However, that brings huge risks to your online privacy. After all, when you sign in an account, the basic information required usually contains your username, email address, phone number, company name, zip code etc., all of which directly identifies you and is often shared with third parties. So, remember to turn off the auto-fill option on your web browser. Of course, if private browsing mode is applied, there are no such worries because it does it for you.
Surfing Habits to Keep you Safe Online
Tip#11: Click with caution.
Despite the insanely complex way in which the internet works, it takes just a few clicks and less than a second to connect with someone. Just like in the real world, there are actions that are good, and those that are bad. You are sometimes attracted to click some links such as a shocking title or sensitive information. Be careful! The links actively driving you to click are mostly phishing websites. They aim to steal your private information. Therefore, never click a link without running through some internal security checks. If it looks suspicious, seems too good to be true, or is sensationalist in nature, don’t click!
Tip#12: Use passwords or a passcode on your device.
It’s easy to understand the importance of passwords or a passcode to your online privacy protection. That’s especially true in public. When your devices aren’t used temporarily, such as in a café when you pop up to the counter for that third matcha latte, you should set passwords or passcodes to stop your data from being seen by others.
Tip#13: Don’t connect to public WiFi.
Public WiFi seems a good way to save your mobile internet costs. However, it’s super easy to hack you when your mobile devices are connected to public WiFi or hotspots. It’ll become worse when you log in to your important accounts because there’s no encryption on public WiFi, so your transmitted data can be visited by anyone sharing the same WiFi with you. Therefore, your bank account, credit number, and even your passwords can be easily obtained. Think Starbucks is safe? Think again.
Tip#14: Turn on automatic updating.
There is different software on your devices and they should be set to automatic updating. Each new version of software will add more functions and security, introducing new safety features and combating old viruses. If your software isn’t upgraded, its old version won’t be equipped to beat newly developed, incoming attacks. So turn on automatic updating to protect your online privacy.
Use a Tool to Protect Your Online Security
Tip#15: Use a VPN.
Although we’ve listed some useful and simple tips to protect your online privacy, there’s no single cure all. All the tips can do is partially protect your online privacy.
Take private browsing mode for example. The private browsing mode promises not to save your browsing activities and your filled content. But there’s a serious backdoor to your data. That’s your ISP (Internet Service Provider). All your Internet activities are within your ISP’s reach. And everything in their reach, is in reach of hackers, too.
Only if your IP address is perfectly hidden will your online privacy truly be obtained. That’s why VPNs are created and widely used. A VPN provides a specific tunnel for you to connect your device with internet. As a result, you can get online anonymously without being tracked by any nasty spies.
In addition, a VPN can let you have access to the websites restricted by your local government. Want American Netflix? A VPN can get it. Your online freedom is totally assured with a VPN. Moreover, the specific data transmission tunnel it uses lets you have lightning-fast speeds to download and send files or data.
Compared with an ordinary VPN, BitVPN represents the height of online privacy and security. Due to being a decentralized VPN, data transmission is done through a peer-to-peer mesh network, accelerating data transmission speed. BitVPN does a perfect job at data shredding, too, since multiple nodes take part in data transmission. That can better protect your online privacy.
Download BitVPN now and enjoy a Decentralized VPN for essential protection.
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