How to Protect Your Online Privacy
In a post-Snowden era, where the gentle fiction we’ve maintained about not being the target of hackers was shattered, it’s more important than ever to take care of your internet privacy. Hacking is not the work of fiction, confined to popular TV shows like Mr. Robot; it’s a real, everyday occurrence and just about anyone can be a target. That doesn’t mean you have to be a victim, however. There are a number of precautions you can take to ensure that your data remains secure and only available to those at your discretion. Below, we’ve discussed a number of ways to protect your online privacy.
Always Change Passwords Regularly
While this one should be a no-brainer, it’s surprising how many people don’t follow this simple etiquette. Server access passwords, social media accounts, network access, even the PIN on your cell phone, all of these should be changed and varied on a regular basis. Although it seems like a pain, avoid making these passwords too simple. Passwords should be strong and lengthy, contain both capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. The more complicated it is to remember, the harder it will be to crack for any potential data thieves.
Have an SSL Certificate
Whether it’s a company website or a personal blog, your site should always have SSL encryption. This encryption ensures that all data such as passwords, contact information and payment details will remain secure and unable to be intercepted by third parties, and should be high on your priority list when building a website. There are many companies to help you get started with this, such as www.1and1.com, who can assist you with your website security.
Use a Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a private group of computers linked together over a public network – in this case, the internet. A VPN ensures that your computer’s internet connection is secure and that all the data being exchanged is encrypted and safe from third party access. This means that your traffic is completely encrypted and, even if your data is intercepted it won’t be able to be decoded. While there are a number of different VPNs out there, you may want to look at Tor Guard, which is highly rated in the VPN world.
Install Security Applications
There are a number of security applications you can install on your computer to protect your data from unsafe websites and spyware. It is advised to have a firewall present at all times, and, it goes without saying, a powerful antivirus program running in the background. The latter is a precaution against any malware that may slip through the cracks or any potentially harmful websites you may stumble upon (the internet, after all, is full of digital pitfalls). Check out PC Mag’s list for the best free anti-virus software.