8 Ways to Protect Your Digital Security & Privacy
Data security and digital privacy are increasingly becoming popular topics among internet users as their awareness has increased the importance of keeping their personal data intact and safe. Having our data leaked to a third-party unwillingly can cause problems as we rely heavily on the usage of the internet and technology to perform our daily. Want to know how? Here are some guidelines for you to do simple changes that can bring a big difference.
Secure your accounts Data breach and password leaks are quite common. It has happened to countless companies including Facebook, Target, Yahoo and the latest one, TikTok. So, if you have a TikTok account, you might want to read this through. Firstly, if you want to know which of your online account has been compromised, you can enter your email address at Have I been Pwned? to check. Secondly, recheck the strength and uniqueness of your passwords. Is it strong enough to protect your data from being compromised or is it easy for anyone to guess? You can now auto-generate and remember different, complex passwords for your account from the various tech providers such as Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari and more. These applications can also help you to monitor your accounts for security breaches, suggest changing weak passwords and sync passwords between your computer and phone. Thirdly, use a two-step authentication whenever possible. Most major social networking sites such as Facebook and Gmail, and also banks will provide this option for you where they usually require you to enter the password and a certain generated number that can only be accessed by you.
Protect your web-browsing The data collected about you reveal more about yourself than you expect – phone number, geographical location, email address, educational background, workplace and many more can be easily obtained by tracking your conversation and search history. What can you do to prevent this? Add on a browser extension like uBlock Origin to block ads and the data they collect. It also helps to prevent malware viruses from running in your browser. You can also disable interest-based ads from Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter. If you are using public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, airport or hotel, install HTTPS Everywhere extension. By having this installed, it will automatically direct you to a secured version of a site which makes it difficult for an attacker to digitally eavesdrop on what you’re doing. Lastly, you may want to use a virtual private network (VPN) because it adds another layer of security to your browsing when HTTPS is not available. It can also provide some privacy from your internet service provider and help minimize tracking based on your IP address.
Use reliable antivirus Having malicious software installed in your computer can give you headaches, from annoying pop-ups to scanning for personal info and holding you ransom. With a reliable antivirus, you can easily prevent this problem and protect your data as well as your device from being attacked by viruses. There are plenty of choices available, just scout and search for the one that fits your budget, is secured and is able to fight off multiple threats!
Stay updated all the time! Update your software and devices frequently to ensure that your security level is top-notch. Phone, computer operating systems, web browsers, popular apps and smart-home devices will prompt you about the latest updates with new features and security improvements. If you are the type who likes to leave your browser open all the time, remember to reboot it now and again to get those updates. Your phone also has automatic-update options
Think before you install Before you press OK or YES, ensure that the app you’re downloading is not from an unsecured website with potential privacy and security compromised. There are numerous mobile apps that track your location anywhere you go and harvest your data with consent, including children’s apps. Do not download any app that you are unsure off and stick to downloading programmes or browser extensions directly from the original maker or official app stores. It is also helpful if you can spend some time removing all the apps that you no longer use and audit the privacy permissions of the remaining apps that you still have.
Lock down your phone! Losing your phone can be your worst nightmare as it is probably the closest device to your heart and private info. If it went missing, you need to make sure that nobody can hack into it until you are reunited with it again. To do this, use two main defences. Firstly, set up a strong passcode alongside your biometric fingerprint or face login. Secondly, set up your phone’s remote-tracking feature. If you lose your phone, you’ll be able to see where it is, and you can remotely delete everything on the phone if you can’t recover it.
Enable encryption on your laptop Losing your laptop is equally another nightmare. Not only because it’s more expensive than the phone but also because it contains everything about you in it from your work to your personal life. To prevent this, simply enable encryption on your laptop. When you encrypt the storage drive on your laptop, your password and a security key protect your data. Without your password or the key, the data becomes irrelevant. Although encryption might sound complicated, it is actually simple and free to enable with built-in software.
Be suspicious! Do not simply believe everything that you see and do not overshare your private info online. Make your accounts private and keep your main email address and phone number a secret. Do not publish them on any social media, including your Facebook page. To be safe, for any online shopping purpose or online activities, use a burner email that is not linked to any important personal account like your bank. Also, avoid using your real name and phone number when signing up for a service that you might not go to use for long. Don’t link together services, like Facebook, Spotify, Twitter or Instagram, unless you gain a useful feature. These precautions might seem a lot but if they can help you to sleep well at night knowing that your data is well protected, then why not?