3 Useful Ways to Protect Your Privacy on the Internet
Businesses that track your activity to make a buck, government agencies that eavesdrop on you to ‘keep you safe,’ Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who want you to play by their rules, criminals who record your keystrokes to steal your login credentials, and nosy people on social media who’re overly interested in your personal life, are just some examples of privacy threats on the Internet.
Shielding yourself from these endless annoyances may seem exhausting, but it’s not impossible. The right habits, privacy software, and software settings can put you in control of your data.
1. Secure Your Network
A firewall is a barrier around your network that blocks unwanted traffic and malicious software from attacking your computer. Use it to improve your network security.
However, sly and determined cybercriminals can breach firewalls. To really protect your online privacy – subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service from a well-reviewed cybersecurity company that uses cutting-edge technology. The right VPN protects your privacy in two crucial ways.
- It encrypts your data with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which is almost impossible to hack
- It masks your IP Address to stop anyone, including your ISP, from tracking your activity
A good VPN service also protects your privacy on unsecured public WiFi networks. Just remember to avoid free VPN services, which carry malware and are easy for hackers to breach.
2. Adjust Your Privacy Settings
Even on the most secure network, an unsecured social media page is open to privacy abuse. Adjust your social media privacy settings to stop the public from viewing your personal information. Limit your posts and pictures to people you trust, and don’t add strangers to your list of friends.
Avoid listing your email address and phone number on public pages at all costs. Your contact information can be used by cybercriminals to target you with phishing scams designed to invade your privacy.
Likewise, use secure passwords to make it harder for strangers to access your account. The ideal password should be 12 characters long and include capital letters, lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. In addition, enable two-factor verification – all the major social media platforms offer it.
Change your ad preferences on social media pages to stop advertisers from targeting you with unsettling accuracy. Examine permissions for programs, browser extensions, and mobile apps on all your devices and limit them from tracking your activity as much as possible. Only install trusted software and give permissions sparingly.
3. Stop Spyware and Adware
Adware and spyware are two similar types of malware that breach your privacy. Adware is irritating – it sends your confidential information to advertisers, slows down your system, and bombards you with pop-up ads. Spyware can be far more dangerous than adware. The worst spyware quietly infects your computer and transmits your sensitive information to people with bad intentions.
To stop spyware and adware, use advanced antivirus software, keep your operating system updated, and don’t click suspicious links and pop-ups. If adware infects your computer, use the right software to remove it and preserve your privacy.
While it takes time, energy, and resources to protect your privacy on the Internet, the effort is worthwhile to shield yourself from hackers and stalkers alike.