How to Improve Your Internet Privacy
Increasing online threats such as data breaches, marketers tracking your behavior online, and unscrupulous people taking advantage of your social media photos have all underscored the necessity of keeping watch over your Internet privacy. Fortunately, the average person has more power than ever before in securing their privacy. Knowing exactly how your personal data is being used is the first step to improving your online security and privacy.
By observing a higher level of caution and literacy on the value of your personal data, you can successfully prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. Here are some of our top tips that you can use to improve your Internet privacy.
Use a password manager
Using weak passwords to protect your private information is nearly tantamount to just giving it away to stranger. Use long passwords, with 12 characters or more, everywhere. Moreover, make sure that you use different passwords for different accounts. It practically impossible to memorize long and unique passwords for all the services you use. If you cannot keep track, use a password manager, a program that generates and stores strong passwords. With a password manager you can memorize just one master password.
Going beyond a password is also a smart idea. This could entail requiring the site to ask a security question that only you can answer or using a fingerprint or voiceprint to access your device. A lot of sites, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple, allow you to add another layer of security. Enable two-factor authentication. Although it is by no means a fool-proof solution, it is definitely one of the top methods that the average person can employ to improve his Internet privacy.
Stay private on public Wi-Fi networks
As much as possible, avoid using a public wi-fi network. Public Wi-Fi networks generally do not encrypt traffic, which means that anyone using the same network can try to access your traffic. Be careful of performing any sensitive transactions on public WiFi. In a lot of cases, cyber-criminals use these connections to steal information. Make sure that you do not transmit any sensitive data, such as logins, passwords, credit card data, and more, over public Wi-Fi.
In addition to that, use a VPN to encrypt your data and prevent prying eyes for accessing it. A virtual private network (VPN) will furnish you with additional protection and ensure that your data is less vulnerable to hacking.
Review permissions for apps and extensions
Check out the permissions that apps list on your devices. Mobile apps require you to grant them permissions to access contacts or files in device storage and to use the camera, microphone, geolocation, and many others. Most of the time, you may not be amenable to all of the default permissions granted. Some apps really cannot work without such permissions, however, many use this information to profile you for marketing (and worse). Luckily, it’s relatively easy to manage which apps are given which permissions.
Make sure that you also do the same thing for browser extensions, some of which have shady spying tendencies. As much as possible, do not install any browser extensions that you do not really need. More importantly, examine the permissions you grant them. Make sure that you also update all your apps and devices as soon as the newest versions are released.