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With online attacks increasing each year and a bunch of online tracking being shown, it’s more challenging than ever to keep your digital privacy at the required level. Online privacy isn’t only a concern for individuals but also for online businesses.
Even though it’s becoming challenging, you can protect your online privacy with several important steps. Recent studies show that data breaches soared by .
Protecting your data online is a priceless skill to have. So let’s dive deeper into this article and find ways to protect your online privacy.
7 Methods you can use to protect your online privacy
Reduce the amount of data you gather
If you want to reduce the chances of getting scammed online, sharing less information is always a good idea.
The first thing that comes to mind when sharing information is social media networks and websites because they are usually the first areas where data is collected. Therefore, it’s always important to stay vigilant about what type of information you share with strangers.
All applications you use or every site you visit will gather data based on your activities, and the worst part is that not all of these applications and websites protect your data as much as needed. Many social media platforms have connected to one another, making information even more publicly available than before. Here are two excellent examples:
Facebook: For seven straight years, Facebook managed to keep millions of passwords in an employee-accessible database, which went unnoticed! Zoom: Connected users accounted with LinkedIn and revealed their professions and names.
If you want to reduce the amount of data you share online, you can follow these practices:
Protect your router’s password: Whether at the office or home, your router has plenty of important information you shouldn’t be sharing. Unfortunately, anyone who gets a hold of your password will likely start stealing sensitive information, which is not something you want to happen. Have a throwaway email: Many emails are sold to third parties or on websites, so it’s important to have a that you use primarily for subscriptions. Don’t share too much information on forms: Try only filling in the required information, not any that gives you two options. Limit access: For any folders or albums, always limit access and don’t allow any unauthorized access.
The GDPR, , and many other privacy regulators all have requirements for protecting data privacy. In addition, as data and technology evolve over time, the GDPR and other data regulators will continue to change their requirements. Moreover, it’s best to follow the when it comes to ensuring cookie compliance because it states that users should be allowed to control how their data is used and processed. In order to follow these requirements, you can consider the following criteria: Claim your cookie usage: Inform all website visitors that you are using cookies to collect their information. Try using a pop-up box to quickly grab their attention. Choose how your users will consent: You can allow users to opt in, opt out, or provide support by continuing to use the site. Moreover, users can turn off cookies in the browser settings if they want to control cookies. Whether you choose to use the opt-out or opt-in option, users are the ones who choose to accept or decline the usage of cookies. Therefore, you are giving more control to users based on their cookies usage. Choose a cookie-consent build tool you think is best for you: Many free cookie and open-source cookie consent resources help organizations build and customize their cookie compliant notices. In addition, plenty are specific to a country’s cookie law and include paid resources to assist you in modifying a site if the user opts out or declines the cookie.
3. Use two-factor authentication and strong passwords
Strong passwords should be on your priority list to maximize . Many platforms will show you if your password is strong or weak, so it’s always good to have these indicators. These are AI-generated and strongly inform you whether the password is strong enough or not.
However, remember that online attackers can breach a strong password if your device doesn’t lock automatically. For example, this counts for your smartphone as well. Never leave it open, but switch it off once it requires your password.
Finally, after you set up a strong password, it’s time to set up two-factor authentications. It’s a second step to secure measures that can protect you if you’ve shared a password with hackers during an attack.
Most two-factor authentications include using SMS, but it’s best to use authenticator apps instead of this since they are much more secure than using text verification codes. Even though many modern-day organizations use them, there are better ways than this.
4. Use antivirus software
Many business owners don’t take enough action to prevent viruses from breaching their systems. Statistics show that don’t use antivirus software. So even though viruses aren’t as common as they used to be years ago, they are still around.
Viruses can exist in several forms:
Spam links in your email inbox
Viruses can come from anywhere, so your last hope is the antivirus software. If your computer runs on Windows 10, Microsoft has built-in software that protects you from viruses. It’s more powerful than most people think and offers a high level of security. However, keep in mind that if you run on an older Windows, you might have a higher chance of catching a virus.
On the other hand, we have Mac users who have automatic protection from macOS, especially if you download the software from the App Store. However, if you need an extra layer of security, you can download .
5. Encrypt your data
If you read more about encryption, you’ll find that it was initially used by mathematicians but has changed its overall purpose over the years. Online tools have turned science into many valuable things, such as encrypting and decrypting files and emails.
Many online tools, both on Windows and Mac, will encrypt your data. However, always be on the lookout because not all software you use will protect you from government authorities that demand your encryption key based on .
6. Strengthen your privacy settings
Another step you can take in protecting data privacy is continuously reviewing the privacy settings on your online accounts. Plenty of companies worldwide make millions to billions of dollars only by collecting personal data. However, they’re only collecting your data, not protecting it!
If you want to set the best settings based on what you want to protect and share, here are the main areas you should pay close attention to:
Public information: You need to plan it out carefully. What type of information do you consider hidden, public, or in-between? Typically, there are three levels of data: content, profile data, and the data you use to interact with other people’s content. Likes, comments, and shares: Likes and comments might seem private, but usually, if a mutual friend likes or comments on someone’s account, you’ll notice that the “private” accounts become public as well. Location tracking: Turn off automatic geolocation data on your social media’s photos, comments and posts.
7. Be careful with the free Wi-Fi
You’ve most likely walked into free Wi-Fi before and what better than to have some, right? Free public Wi-Fi networks are usually found in shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, and other public areas. Even though free Wi-Fi is exciting, keep in mind that its security measures are low.
There are public Wi-Fi areas that are waiting for you to connect and using this chance to steal your personal data. Not something exciting to hear, especially if you are using public Wi-Fi to enter your credit card information or other sensitive information that nobody should know about.
Summary of why we should pay close attention to online privacy
Online privacy is crucial in today’s insecure world. The number of online breaches that occur yearly is only rising; the worst part is that online attackers will always try and find new ways to steal your sensitive information.
However, there are plenty of ways to prevent these continuous attacks. The primary goal is to focus on what type of information you are sharing and to ensure that you limit the information you are sharing. Additionally, always remember to grant authorized access to users who should be in control of specific data.
is a freelance SEO content and copywriter. He has been in the writing industry for three years and has managed to write hundreds of SEO-optimized articles. Moreover, he has written articles that have ranked #1 on Google. Tony’s primary concern when writing an article is to do extensive research and ensure that the reader is engaged until the end.