The Internet is one of the world’s greatest inventions, and no one can argue with that. Whit just a few clicks, you can get access to a mountain of information and data. But with great power also comes great responsibility, and if you are not careful, things can turn against you pretty fast.
With a bit of effort, an ill-intentioned person can find and exploit sensitive data about you, such as your email address, name, phone number, credit card information, or even where you went out to dinner last night. Concerning, right?
Many people believe if they have nothing to hide, it’s not worth going the extra mile to protect their online activity, but this couldn’t be more wrong. Protecting your privacy has nothing to do with conducting illegal activity, but rather with the fact that you don’t want to fall victim to any.
Don’t go on believing your internet service provider or other vendors will take all the necessary measures so that your data does not fall prey to hackers. Yes, they are compelled to take some measures, but cyberattacks often go past these thin layers of security. Instead, do your due diligence and take some extra steps to ensure what you do online stays between you and your devices.
If you don’t know where to start, here are some tactics that will help improve your online security.
Ensure your accounts are secured
For the past ten years, data breaches and leaks have made the first page of the news on more than one instance. Big companies such as Target, Facebook, and Yahoo, as well as countless celebrities, have all had to suffer cyberattacks that revealed important documents and information.
To ensure you don’t follow in their footsteps, you need to set up strong passwords and manage them effectively. This can be done by using a password manager, which can generate and remember complicated passwords so that your accounts are always secured.
If you don’t want to use software for this, you can also do this the old-fashioned way, by coming up with complex passwords yourself. Experts advise you need to use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters to create a password that is hard to break.
Banks, email providers, and social media networks also allow a two-step authentication process, which means an extra authentication step you need to take to log into your account. Make use of it whenever possible to add an extra layer of security.
Cover your online tracks
All your online activity is tracked by companies such as Google, Facebook, or others, for advertising purposes. This means information such as your browsing habits, ads you click on, or location can be used to create your online persona so that these companies can better target your ads and recommend things you may be interested in. Even though, in theory, this is supposed to improve your experiences, it is still one of the most unsettling aspects of the Internet.
To prevent these companies from gathering data, you need to go the extra mile and secure your internet activity. This can be done by using browser extensions that block ads and prevent them from collecting data, VPNs, or proxies. But the issue with most of these tools is that websites can detect them and either require you to turn them off or ban your access to the website.
Residential proxies are one of the best methods to maintain your online privacy without having to worry that the website may blacklist you. When you use a residential proxy, you buy residential IP, which is a real IP address, linked to a real location and internet service provider, meaning a website can not suspect you are using a cover IP and block it.
Invest in a good antivirus
While viruses are no longer the huge problem they were 10 years ago, malicious software is still out there, and you need to protect yourself against it. If malicious software is installed on your computer, you run all kinds of risks, including your data and passwords being stolen or your computer being used to mine bitcoins.
Take the time to search for good antivirus software and install it as soon as possible, even if that means getting a few extra pennies out of your pocket. If you use Windows 10, it comes with Windows Defender, built-in software that provides enough security for most users. If you don’t want to use Windows Defender, there are plenty of other options to choose from online.
Keep your devices updated
Operating systems, apps, and almost all software you are using is going to require frequent updates in order to word properly. These updates include new features, as well as improved reliability and security, so it is very important that you check and install these updates when necessary.
Your operating system and most apps will update automatically if you allow this feature, but you still have to double-check and ensure you did not miss any important patch. Look on your computer and other devices and make sure you have automatic updates enabled, then make it a habit to check once a week and see if there are any other steps you need to take.
Be careful what you download or install
The Internet, and especially app stores, are loaded with all kinds of apps that may seem fun and promising but do make sure you never download anything from a sketchy source. These apps can be used to track your location and harvest data without you knowing, which can be a massive security issue.
To prevent such situations from happening, you need to be very careful with the source of these apps and programs. Only download software or apps directly from the maker’s website or official stores and stay away from apps that you don’t necessarily need. Chances are, if you go through your phone now, you have at least 5 apps you haven’t been using for ages now, and all they do is take up space. Do a proper decluttering and get rid of them as soon as you can.