If you are wondering whether we have internet privacy, the short answer is no. And although it might seem that using a few passwords or avoiding pages that seem insecure will keep your data safe, the scary reality is that there’s nothing safe about our online lives.
While many people repeat that “I have nothing to hide” mantra to justify their lack of effort in becoming proactive about internet privacy, some of us only become aware of the importance of enhanced security once an unexpected negative event happens. This could be anything from stolen information for personalised ads, identity or financial theft, data breach, or cyber bullying.
So what can you do to prevent cyber criminals, advertisers, and unknown entities tracking everything you do online and painting a picture of who they think you are?
Practical Steps To Take To Limit Online Privacy Risks
When it comes to protecting our identity online, there are certain easy steps each one of us can take to reduce third party access to our information, and shield more of our digital activity from prying eyes.
Secure Your Passwords
To prevent cybercriminals from stealing your passwords and getting access to your digital life, use strong, complicated passwords with at least eight characters long, and made out of a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Whenever possible you should also enable two factor authentication, digit or face recognition. Last but not least, never save passwords on your device and instead use a secure password manager.
Tape Your Webcams
Although it might seem extreme, covering your computer’s camera prevents a hacker from being able to see whatever the camera sees. Also, by sticking tape over the microphone you can muffle the audio enough to prevent uninvited ears from listening in.
Use An Ad Blocker
Ad blockers are an effective security tool anyone can use to prevent online ads and reduce the opportunity for malvertising attacks. Other than that, pages opened with ad blockers are faster to open and easier to read.
Disable Location Services
Location tracking opens the doors for security weaknesses. Always be cautious when leaving your location running in the background of apps, or when sharing your name. Turn off location services and deny access to your camera to make it harder for cybercriminals to know where you are, and where you’ve been.
Delete All Unused Social Media Accounts
If you haven’t used a social media account in months it’s better to delete it. Old pictures or documents that you don’t access anymore, or even forgot about, can be repositories of personal information. While getting rid of your social media accounts will not reduce all your social media security risks, it will at least minimize the risk of your personal info being stolen and used without your say so. If you are not ready yet to delete social pages that you spent time and effort in building, at least dive into the settings and make sure you lock down as much access to your data as you can.
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