We live very digital lives. Almost everything we do has some connection to the online, virtual world. Emails, e-commerce accounts, work/office accounts, social media, smartphones, and even smart home systems. And so, it’s never been more important than now to talk about internet privacy and how you can protect yourself when online.
Why Internet Privacy is Important
Not everyone spends time paying attention to every move or decision they make when they’re online. Others become victims to scams from people pretending to be from big companies, banks, etc. And it all starts because they snatched your contact information and profile at some point when you were online. Hacking cases have increased over the years with hackers finding new and creative ways to get into your accounts and locking you out of them. And with a lot of our sensitive information being stored on the cloud, we need to be more careful. Here are some ways you can protect your internet privacy:
1. Have a Variety of Passwords and Have Passwords Everywhere
Every account you make or sign up for should be protected by a password. However, no matter how tempting and easy it seems to have one password for all accounts, don’t do it. Have strong and different passwords for different accounts. Use characters, numbers, words that cannot be easily associated with you, and make them long. Accounts with weak passwords are easy to break into and hack. Lock your phone, computer, laptop, and all other devices with passwords or codes.
2. Keep Your Main Email Address Private
This not only helps you avoid scam emails and calls but also ensures your email isn’t sold to telemarketers or hackers. Similarly, you may want to keep your personal phone number private as well. It’s wise to create a separate email account for online shopping purposes so you don’t have to share your main account.
3. Know Which Sites are Tracking You
When visiting websites, your browser discloses information about you, your surf history, and preferences. This can be used to later profile and target you for marketing purposes. Some believe that surfing the web through Incognito mode will prevent tracking, but that’s not true. You would need to use special tools like Kaspersky Internet Security to evade online tracking.
4. Check Social Media Privacy Settings
Another part of maintaining internet privacy is watching your social media accounts. Check and update privacy settings on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Social accounts store a lot of information about you. And if not set up to be private, a lot of this information is visible to other users.
5. Review Permissions Asked by Mobile Apps
When downloading a new app for your phone or tablet, they may request permission to access your camera, contacts, files, etc. For some apps, like Instagram, using your camera and files is necessary. But other apps use this information for marketing purposes and more. And so, pay attention when giving permissions to new apps.
6. Be Careful With Web Browser Extensions
Do the same for browser extensions. They too ask for permission to access your information and storage, and spying tendencies. Don’t install them unless absolutely necessary.
7. Back-Up Your Data and Get an Internet Security Package
Maintain a continuous back-up of your data just in case it was hacked or your laptop/computer crashes. Also, invest in a malware protector that shields your computer and the internet from malicious activity. McAfee and Norton are common and safe options to stop malicious software and viruses from entering your PC.
8. Be Careful When Signing Up For New Services
Look up the “Terms and Conditions” and “Privacy Policies” for services that you join or use. This will let you know what they do with the information they store. And you can decide accordingly whether you want to continue or dismiss the service.
Protect Yourself When You Are Online
We all know the common rules such as don’t open attachments or links by unknown people and make strong and difficult passwords. But there is more to internet privacy than that. Therefore, it is important to update your passwords and PC software regularly. Utilize anti-virus software and be aware of the different ways scammers creep into people’s accounts. Update your internet privacy and keep your information safe today.