How to protect your online privacy
As we live more of our lives online through work, play, social media, etc. Protecting yourself online has become even more important than ever, as we are getting more and more exposed to risks of being hacked or worse our identity being stolen.
However, there are 7 simple steps you can take to secure your private information.
Step 1: Use a more secure search engine
Most of us choose one web browser over another because they have certain features or simply because everyone we know uses that specific browser but that does not mean that your browser of choice is up to date when it comes to security.
Even for security-conscious users, there isn’t a clear option. When you are wondering which browser to use, check reviews and read about the security features each browser offers you.
It is recommended to use a browser that supports private browsing.
Step 2: Check to see if your browser supports private browsing
The security features of each browser vary, but one of the most functional and popular features is private browsing. When you use private browsing, it minimizes the data footprint associated with your browsing by not tracking you. Many popular browsers provide similar options, like Microsoft Edge’s InPrivate and Google Chrome’s Incognito.
We highly suggest private browsing because it:
- Deletes your browsing activity from the browser’s history index.
- Clears cookies from your browser cache when your session ends.
By not tracking your use, you can reduce potential intrusions into your activity, which is a particularly good precaution against data theft.
Step 3: Always double-check any unfamiliar links
The easiest step to protect your digital identity is to never just trust any link. Double-check the link before you click as this is a great way to protect your device and reduce the risk of viruses and malware.
Step 4: Be careful about what you share on social media
Almost all social media platforms have a degree of public accessibility. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all have privacy protections in place, but you must use them in order to protect yourself. You can reduce the risk of hacking or identity theft by simply limiting what you share on social media.
Even if your account is locked or private, there is a certain thing to steer clear of. Avoid answering questions on your feed that give bad people information about yourself, like your first car or your first pet’s name.
Step 5: Delete old apps, keep the apps that you still use
Whether it’s your smartphone, your web browser, or your PC, it’s always best to delete any old apps you no longer use. Apart from the security issues, removing old apps is often a good way to improve your device’s performance. That is especially true on smartphones and browsers, which may be filled with unused add-on’s taking up precious hard-drive space.
More importantly, deleting old apps protects you against security flaws as some apps and add-ons may have a shelf life, which means they no longer receive updates from the developer which means they might not be protected against the latest threats.
Step 6: Deactivate save password features
We all love using the saving password feature in our browsers and as convenient as it may be, it is not exactly safe. If someone hacks into your browser log-in, for example, they can easily swipe your passwords because they are all saved in one place.
Your browser may be secure and well-maintained but it is always best not to use the save password feature. You can use a password manager app for convenience and although it does have its advantages, it can also be unsafe and easy for hackers to hack and access all your passwords.
Step 7: Update or replace your anti-virus software
As some anti-virus software runs in the background, it is easy to delay or even skip updates. This means that you are spending longer periods of time without the latest fixes for bugs and known vulnerabilities, which opens the doors for potential viruses, malware, or even hackers.