The Internet can be an unfriendly place. You should be aware of your privacy when online and offline (the latter is not our focus today). Online privacy requires you to have total control of what you choose to share with the world. Even when reputable sites promise you everything is safe in their hands, there are a growing number of ways your data can be tracked and stored. Luckily, there’s something you can do about it! Here are five ways to ensure your privacy is upheld, including your personal information:
Ways to Maximize Privacy and Data Security:
1. Update Privacy Settings
Websites that connect people, such as social media, have lots of privacy settings, and updating them puts you one step ahead. Ideally, the default settings allow people to view your personal information. Changing these settings will make sure fewer people have access to this information.
Oversharing in social media is so common that cyberbullies have a relatively easy time finding prey. Avoid adding tags on your photos and remove any embarrassing material as it can be used against you. Also, turn on two-factor authentication in your social media apps and Google as well. It’s like an extra firewall to your account’s security.
2. Unlink Accounts
Most websites have introduced an option of linking accounts. Many sites are now allowing you to log in to their accounts via Google. While it may sound convenient, linking accounts is a ticking time bomb.
If, in any case, one of your accounts is compromised, you’ll be risking all related accounts. Unlinking is a precautionary measure and keeps all your accounts from being hacked at once.
3. Disable Cookies
The issue of third party browser cookies has been so rampant that the data privacy laws now require a user’s consent. It means that websites are not allowed to use your browser cookies without you pressing the “Accept” button whenever a cookie request pops up.
Cookies are what keep your browsing data history, remember password and usernames, or allow automatic sign-ins. Deleting cookies may be inconvenient on sites you visit regularly. Still, it is worth it if you value your data.
4. Use A VPN
Have you ever heard of a VPN? A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will direct your internet traffic and encrypt it to another server’s location. Through the encryption, your internet service provider (ISP) or potential hacker will not be able to track your traffic online.
They will only be able to see data going in and out of the VPN. VPN’s are also great for securing data when there are restrictions in your country.
5. Use Stronger Passwords
However, cliché this might sound, stronger passwords remain the most critical to maintaining your online security. Since we are bound to so many websites, it becomes tiresome to have, let’s say, eight different passwords. Many people get lazy and use the same password across all websites, which becomes an issue.
For better privacy, use long passwords with a mix of characters. You can also use short passphrases separated by a space bar. They are not easy to crack but still easy to remember for you. For instance, “good hat door” or “grey_lose_car?” You should avoid using the same passwords, even if you think they are strong enough.
Data is a valuable asset and as we wind up, encryption is also an essential aspect of data privacy. You should become self-aware of the kind of information you’re sharing including who has access to it. By following the above steps, you’ll be a step closer to securing your data and information online.