The internet is undoubtedly the most important invention of our time. However, cyberspace has exposed users to countless dangers, one being the invasion of privacy.
The fact that some of the biggest companies in the world, like Yahoo, Facebook, and LinkedIn, have all suffered breaches is a clear sign that every internet user is an easy target. Therefore, you should strive to secure yourself as much as possible to be safe from these privacy breaches that may have dire ramifications.
Here are some of the best tips you should consider if you want to protect yourself online.
Generate Strong Passwords
Safeguarding your account login credentials is the surefire way of protecting yourself from online breaches.
To create an online account, you might need a password, an email address, or a username. However, it is very easy to have your account compromised by applying weak and common passwords. Using your date of birth, your pet’s name, or consecutive numbers or letters are the fastest ways to get hacked.
To be on the safe side with passwords, do the following:
- Create passwords that have special characters that one cannot guess easily.
- Utilize Google’s feature that helps you generate strong passwords.
- Occasionally update your password to minimize further the chances of getting hacked.
- Do not share your password with anyone.
- Do not save your passwords online. If someone hacks into your email, they get access to all your passwords.
Install and Download Files from Trusted Sources Only
Downloading files from unknown sources may be costly to your privacy. Some files from unknown sources are corrupted and can compromise your data. Also, unknown software can be used as a Trojan horse to let malware into your device. Therefore, download files only from official websites, like Google Play or iOS App Store, to guarantee safety.
Secure Your Devices
Enhancing your internet privacy also involves keeping your devices secure physically. For example, leaving your phone without a password or pin is a boost for someone who may want to invade your privacy online. Additionally, employing a cyber-security expert in your business is advisable to help you quell threats in real time.
You may also need to hire guards to secure your business’s devices from theft or illegal access increasing the chances of an online privacy breach.
Update Software Regularly
As technology advances, hackers also improve and become more tactical. Therefore, software developers regularly evaluate their programs and keep improving certain features to keep hackers at bay.
For example, suppose the Facebook app has gaps that would encourage a privacy breach. In that case, the developers will try to correct the gap by adding new security features and publishing an upgraded app version. You should update your software regularly to enjoy features that enhance your privacy.
Malware attacks thrive in devices that have no antivirus software. While downloading files from unknown sources is risky, files from co-workers or friends also expose you to attacks. They may contain macro viruses that leave you vulnerable to privacy attacks. An antivirus program scans your documents, keeps what is safe, flags corrupted files, and deletes them altogether.
Without an antivirus, your device is susceptible to malware, including ransomware, that may invade your privacy and get hold of your documents in exchange for a ransom.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Over time, using a password as a standalone security measure has proven to be insufficient. 2FA, also known as two-factor authentication, strengthens security by adding an extra layer of account protection.
A one-time password (OTP) or security key is sent to a different device whenever you log into the account. After entering your regular password, you’ll need to input the one-time password.
Two-factor authentication helps to avoid breaches of online privacy, especially in emails. A person with your email password can only log into your email if they have your mobile phone, where they will access the one-time password or security key.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
As much as public Wi-Fi is free and convenient, it poses a massive threat to your online privacy. Hackers can illegally see what you are doing online, see your passwords, and steal your data. Therefore, you risk losing money if your credit card details are stolen.
Some public Wi-Fi connections request special permission like access to SMS and camera and may see your photos, videos, and text messages. Public Wi-Fi also contains significant malware threats, where hackers inject your device with viruses.
If you must use public Wi-Fi, use a VPN to hide your IP address and make your internet traffic private.
Avoid Sharing Private Information
Because you never know who watches you on social media, avoid sharing private data online. For example, your mum’s or your pet’s name may be the answer to a security question. Thus, posting such information may pose a threat to your privacy.
Also, sharing sensitive information like your phone number and bank account is highly discouraged. You may become an easy target for phishing, where hackers pretend to know about you from their company’s database.
Revealing private data can also lead to identity theft, where someone uses your personal details to commit fraud.
Remember to always verify the identity of your interlocutor before providing them with any personal details. Use PhoneHistory to make sure they are who they say they are.
Avoid Clicking Suspicious Links
Suspicious links sent via email or text are prevalent these days. Some of these links are from hackers trying to attack your devices with malware to steal your information or stalk you. You can conclude that a link is suspicious if it has any or all of the following characteristics:
- Request for private information
- Threats and demands
- Poor spelling and grammar
If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a link, you’d better use a website safety checker, such as URLVoid or SSLTrust.
Delete Old Accounts
If you have old accounts that you no longer use, it is best to close them. The less amount of data shared online, the better. Old accounts may contain personal information that can harm your online privacy.
Besides, hackers can attack old accounts that are more vulnerable due to poor data protection policies or weak passwords. Website developers may also sell or decide to leak your information, which may result in a breach of privacy.
Internet privacy is a growing concern globally, with more breaches reported yearly. The consequences of privacy invasion are distressing. So, to preserve your privacy, you should practice multiple methods. For example, using an antivirus, unique login credentials, and two-factor authentication is a good way to start.