How to Protect Your Online Privacy: 9 Simple Ways

The internet has introduced us to a whole new way of living. It has changed the way we do business, how we learn, our government and healthcare systems, and even our interactions with loved ones—the internet has eliminated many communication barriers.

With complete internet connectivity through smartphones and tablets, almost everyone today is concerned about their digital privacy. 

Therefore, in the same way, that we protect ourselves every day by holding an umbrella to avoid getting wet by the rain, or locking our vehicles when we enter and exit to decrease the likelihood of a successful physical attack on us, precautions need to be taken to safeguard our privacy on the internet.

Gone are the days when we felt safe and secure with just one password. Nowadays, there are more tech-savvy people around looking for new ways to take advantage of us. It is therefore paramount for us to take greater steps to protect ourselves. 

Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy

Read the Terms and Conditions

Digital industry giants, like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, know a great deal about you—and not just your address or date of birth, but a lot more. These companies have, over the years, developed algorithms for understanding online behaviors.

So, for example, if you are signed in to Facebook, and are internet browsing, information such as your interests, preferences, time spent online, and search histories is being collected by Facebook to facilitate their target advertising activities, among others. That is why reading the privacy policy before you register on any website is so important.  

Clear Cookies from Your System

Browsing websites usually results in a message indicating that the particular website is using cookies. These cookies log your information and continue to do so even after you have stopped using your browser.

These cookies must be removed from your computer as a means of safeguarding your system. It only takes a few minutes to clear those cookies from your system, and it can either be done manually or with the help of cleanup software. 

Search for Yourself Online

You might be surprised at what turns up when you search for yourself online. It can be interesting to see what information is out there about you. Try using a few different search engines; if you come across any sensitive data or find incorrect, inappropriate, or misleading information, be sure to reach out to the site administrator to discuss removing the material.

Learn How to Recognize Phishing Scams

Phishing is defined as the criminally deceptive practice of transmitting emails or other messages appearing to be from reputable companies with the aim of inducing individuals to divulge their personal information.

Through phishing scams, people are able to successfully misrepresent themselves, so learning about them can help you recognize them and take measures to protect yourself against them.

Remember, before providing any personal information to anyone, you should ascertain the reliability of the source. You can start by searching Google or PhoneHistory to see what turns up.

Create Secure Passwords

Passwords are required for almost everything on the internet, from email checking to online banking. And although you might feel like it’s easier to use simple, memorable passwords, it is not recommended because it poses a serious risk to your security online. You need to create a password that you can easily remember and that is hard for anyone else to guess. 

Never use personal information, like your name or date of birth, because it can easily be retrieved, making it easier for anyone to guess your password. Using a long password of six characters or more is best—the longer, the better.

Try to incorporate upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It is not advisable to the same password for multiple accounts because, once discovered, all other accounts will become vulnerable to attacks. 

Use Two-Step Verification

Two-step verification is a great way to keep your account safe. It requires you to verify yourself twice using any two of these: an alternate email address, your phone number, or your password. You will usually need to do this on different devices.

First, you will need to sign in to your account using your password. After that, you will be asked to enter a code that will be sent to either your phone via text or your alternate email address. 

Once you enter this code into the webpage, you will be able to access your account. Adding this extra step will give you more protection, and it is really quick to do.

Keep Your Software Updated

Updating your device’s software can do more than just improve its speed and features—it can actually make your system more secure by fixing any vulnerabilities that were present in older versions.

So it is definitely worth keeping your software up to date. Sometimes it can be a hassle, but it is really important to take a few minutes to update your software. Trust me, it will be worth it in the long run! 

Use Antivirus Scans

Antivirus software identifies and removes viruses from your devices. Consider selecting highly rated antivirus software, as these have an updated collection of threats that will facilitate a higher level of security for your devices. It is important to install antivirus software on each of your devices and to establish regular antivirus software scans. 

Use an External Hard Drive to Back Up Your Data

Because we constantly fear our systems crashing and losing all of our important information, many recommend using cloud storage to back up data, however, some also suggest that backing up your devices’ data onto an external hard drive is safer as opposed to backing up onto cloud platforms because it has been reported that hackers have been able to access users’ sensitive information.

A Final Thought

With the internet’s continuous changes to the way we live and the countless threats to our online security, taking a few minutes a day to put any or all of the aforementioned measures in place to help safeguard our online privacy is essential.