Tips to Help You Take Control of Your Online Privacy

The Internet has become an even more critical component of our lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we go online to complete work, connect with colleagues, family, and friends, consume entertainment, shop for groceries, clothing, etc., and much more.

Unfortunately, our increasing reliance on the Internet also makes us more vulnerable to privacy threats like the following:

  • Strangers, friends, and family who want to know more about you.
  • Jealous partners, ex-lovers, and stalkers who want to track your location and activity.
  • Online trolls who want to dox you because they disagree with your opinions.
  • Pranksters who want to ruin your day for their amusement.
  • Hackers who want to use your private files such as pictures and videos to blackmail you.
  • Thieves who want to log on to your bank accounts or PayPal to take your money quickly.  
  • Local or national state-sponsored threat actors that want to violate your basic human rights, such as freedom of speech.

Whether a threat actor is a simple troll or a state agent, they want to use your publicly available data against you. Of course, they also carry sophisticated tools that can breach your privacy. That’s why you need to take multiple steps to secure your privacy online.

Avoid sharing private information on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. For example, a petty thief that reads about your overseas trip can use the opportunity to burgle your house. Likewise, a hacker that learns about your birthdate can use the information to breach your email account.

Only share private information with trusted friends. Use the privacy settings of social media platforms to stop strangers from accessing your information.

  • Secure Your Network

You can use a firewall and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure your network. While a firewall monitors your network traffic, a VPN encrypts your data and masks your IP address to protect your privacy. Keep in mind that an online criminal can use your IP address to track you, frame you for cybercrimes, or violate your privacy.

Of course, you should subscribe to a good VPN service that uses the latest technology and avoid using free VPNs. Unfortunately, most free VPNs carry spyware and invade your privacy to make money.

  • Secure Your Accounts

There are several steps you can take to secure your online accounts. Set a complex password for every account that includes uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using common words or personal information in your passwords. You can also take advantage of 2-Step Verification to protect your accounts further.

Additionally, use antivirus software that offers anti-malware technology to protect your privacy from malicious software attacks. Please also update your Mac or Windows operating system regularly, as well as your cybersecurity software.

  • Download Trustworthy Software

When downloading software, only select highly regarded apps with excellent reviews. Many free apps contain adware or spyware designed to breach your privacy. Also, don’t install software that asks for unnecessary permissions to secure your data.

Indeed, technology has changed our lives in many good ways. But the burden of securing our information in this increasingly connected world is on us. Take the proper measures to stay one step ahead of privacy threats.

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