Once upon a time, people knew how to keep secrets. But with the advent of the digital era, there are fewer opportunities to keep things private. Data about our daily activities like communication with friends, vacations, and shopping – all this and much more is recorded and stored on the servers of different companies and organizations.
Data is stored on servers connected to the Internet, which means it can be bought, sold, used in a variety of ways, and sometimes even stolen. And you won’t approve some of the use cases for your data if you learn about them. It’s always frustrating to find that personal information has leaked onto the Web.
Personal data protection is an important issue for people of all ages. Here are simple rules to help you maintain your privacy on the Internet.
Be Careful with Smart Gadgets
Nowadays, you can buy a «smart» version of almost any item. There are smart toasters with personalized roasting settings that send you notifications on your phone when breakfast is ready. There are Bluetooth forks that vibrate when you’re eating too fast. You can even buy app-connected umbrellas that monitor the weather. Unfortunately, all this stuff isn’t as funny and harmless as you may think. Most of them are hardly protected from hacking. For example, in 2016, a group of hackers created an army of connected devices that disabled major platforms such as Netflix, Spotify, Facebook. So, please think twice before purchasing any funny, smart gadget, and ask yourself whether you really need it that much.
Secure Your Old Email Accounts
Almost all of us probably have old accounts that we stopped using years ago but didn’t bother to delete. These emails are a real treasure of your personal data. And it literally waits to be hacked. Experts recommend remembering all abandoned accounts and protect yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to delete them. It’s enough to change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication. You can disable all the services connected to the old mail (for example, access to cloud storage) in the settings.
Don’t Use Open WiFi Networks
They may look like completely reliable sources of the Internet provided by a local café or a library. However, it will be difficult for you to distinguish «a good» WiFi from «a bad» one. To create such a network, hackers would only need a laptop and a WiFi adapter. And scammers actually use this method to intercept the logins and passwords of users trying to connect to the Internet through their WiFi networks.
Apply All Methods of Anonymous Internet Surfing
Nowadays, developers offer lots of options for free or relatively cheap anonymous surfing. AntiDetect browsers and browsers with built-in sandboxes are some of the most reliable and affordable tools. They encrypt all information you use when visiting various sources. Thus, you reach anonymity, which is the key to Internet security. We also recommend you read more on this topic. In this article, you can find even more useful tips on how to stay anonymous online with ease.
Use Secure Passwords and Password Managers
Try to avoid weak passwords. Simple combinations protect almost nothing, and even someone with minimal hacking experience will need a couple of seconds to get around a password. Whenever possible, try to create unique, hack-resistant, complex passwords for accessing various resources, especially those connected with your finances. It’s actually not that hard to remember a strong password. But if you are not ready to do this, use special password management programs such as Keychain.
Encrypt Your Data
To many of us, this may sound like rocket science, and you might think that it requires specialized technical knowledge. However, even if encryption was once used exclusively by IT people, it is no longer the case today. Whether you’re using a Mac or Asus, the method is pretty straightforward. Operating systems use programs like Full Disk Encryption for Windows 10 and File Vault for Mac, which encrypt the data on your computer. When you activate the program, only someone with a unique encryption key will be able to access the information stored on your computer.
Use All Free Tools for Analysis
Google has recently launched a special tool that allows users to check what personal information they have published using different Google servers. We recommend trying this option to see how much we post on the Internet without proper consideration. Perhaps, it will help you change your web habits.
Bluetooth is a very handy and popular phone function as you can share videos, photos, and other documents with your friends in seconds. We tend to forget to turn it off, thinking that Bluetooth won’t do any harm if it stays on, especially due to the permission request required to connect Bluetooth. Regardless of your security settings, the only way to prevent fraudsters from using your personal data is to turn off Bluetooth whenever you don’t need it.
Install Antivirus Software on Your Device
Malware or a virus is a program designed to gain access to your computer and cause harm. We know these programs under various names such as viruses, worms, Trojans, etc. Each of us has already encountered such a problem. The main danger of malware is that it can be anywhere from emails to websites and files we accept. The best way to protect your privacy is to install an antivirus program and check your system periodically. In addition, you should avoid downloading unchecked files and visiting suspicious websites.
Turn Off Your Device after Work
Do you love to fall asleep listening to your favorite YouTube music when your laptop stays on all night? Perhaps, you should consider changing this habit because when you leave your device turned on, connected to the Internet, and unattended, it becomes an easy target for various cyber-scammers.
The issue of personal data safety on the Internet discompose many people. However, as you see now, there are lots of quite simple and affordable methods for protection that suit even inexperienced Internet users.
We didn’t mean to scare you but to warn you about possible problems you may encounter and show you how to prevent them and protect your personal data. We hope you enjoyed the article and found these tips helpful. Surely, we have considered only some of the ways available. If you’d like to learn more, check our other articles.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.