Marketers are tracking you but there are ways to control your private data.
Anyone can find your sensitive information online. Yes, including your email address and physical address. It’s terrifying but your personal information has been more accessible today than it was before.
Each time you connect to public Wi-Fi, for instance, you’re already sharing your personal information. The apps and sites that gather your information will use the details to give you better ads.
What if your personal details get into the wrong hands? That can be scarier. Hackers are smarter and they are one step ahead of the many tools that protect consumers against privacy threats.
That’s why you must learn how to protect your private stuff online.
1. Secure Your Accounts
Privacy and security are two different things. The former entails preventing apps and sites from tracking you for ads or surveillance. The latter, on the other hand, refers to preventing hackers from accessing your stuff, like your credit card number.
When it comes to securing your accounts, you need to set up 2FA or two-factor authentication. It’s confirming your identity using two factors.
For instance, on Google, you can set up a 2FA. Before you can log in to your account, you need to verify your identity using your mobile device. That is, if you set up a 2FA on your account.
Now if someone has figured out your password through a hacking device, that person still can’t get in.
Another way to secure your account is to use a strong password or passphrase. The longer the password is, the better it is. Add special characters into it. Never use the same password for various sites. If one account is compromised, hackers can get into your other accounts.
But having different passwords for different accounts can be difficult to remember. This is where a password manager tool can be handy. What’s the best password manager tools available? We have discussed it here: Top 3 Best Password Manager Tools to Use Today.
2. Remove Some Apps
Mobile apps can learn more about you and access your private data. The reason for this is that they can access your data via your phone. Some harmless apps can even sell the data they gathered.
To avoid it, make sure that you remove those apps that you don’t use frequently. Instead of using those apps, you can use their browser versions.
Browsers are more preferred by some security experts. The reason for this is that they can’t access more information from you, unlike when you use an app.
Always remember that some companies are making huge profits from the data they have gotten from you. And if you use the app less, you’re not giving them more data.
3. Modify Your Phone Settings
Your mobile phone can track your location and access your private. But you can avoid it by changing your phone settings.
But don’t stop there. Make sure that you turn off tracking unless it’s necessary. For instance, map apps require that you turn on the tracking setting. However, tracking isn’t necessary when you play a game. That said, you can turn it off.
4. Use Encrypted Messaging
Mobile messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger, aren’t secure. If you want to secure your messages, you must use a platform that utilizes end-to-end encryption. One great example is WhatsApp.
However, even if the messaging apps utilize encryption technology, marketers and hackers can still use your metadata to learn more about you.
Even though WhatsApp utilizes end-to-end technology, it’s still owned by Facebook, which is known to gather data from its users.
Plus, if you choose to share your contacts with the said app, Facebook can get that information. But FB can’t read the content. Still, it can read some information about you.
Experts also warned about backing up chats to the cloud. When you back up your messages to the cloud, like iCloud, they are no longer encrypted. It’s dangerous because the database can be accessed by anyone.
5. Use VPN
VPN is especially useful if you’re using public Wi-Fi. This tool is a robust method to protect your device. It sends your traffic through a tunnel that’s encrypted. As a result, it becomes more difficult for hackers to intercept it.
You should always use a VPN each time you access free public Wi-Fi. Here’s how VPN Can Support WFH.
One of the most trusted VPN service providers is Nord VPN. It’s a dependable product and it’s quite effective in protecting you. Plus, it uses strong encryption. It’s the same technology that the government is using for its own systems.
6. Conduct a Social Media Audit
You just don’t know how much data you have shared on social media until you perform a social media suit. You’ll be surprised that you have shared your phone number with someone years ago.
Although it’s old information, everything that you post online can always come back to haunt you.
Your first step to social media auditing is to change your privacy settings. In that way, you can limit the information the site can collect and see your posts. Delete any posts that could be unprofessional.
There are some apps out there that can help you audit your post history. Use them to make it easier to remove some posts and data that can come back to bite you later.
7. Use Antivirus Software
If you’re running Windows 10, you may use its Windows Defender as it offers plenty of security options. This is necessary to prevent viruses and malicious software from being installed on your computer.
Set up antivirus software, especially if you share your computer with other people in your household.
Mac users are protected because of the built-in software in macOS. But you need to download only programs from the App Store. You must stick to downloading apps from official stores.
And most of all, you must update your operating system. Updates will give you new features and security improvements.
It’s daunting to protect your privacy online. But you can start small. The more you use the Internet, the more data are being collected and used. To keep your data safe from prying eyes, make sure to practice good security hygiene.