You heard about the recent data theft from a famous social network, and now you want to know how to improve online privacy. Unfortunately, when it comes to using the internet, we have good and bad habits that can positively or negatively affect our privacy and online safety. For example, using your Facebook profile to sign up for other sites or online services is a bad habit.
Conversely, regularly checking your Facebook account privacy settings and enabling security features like two-factor authentication is a good habit. Good habits protect your privacy and keep you safe, while bad habits put you at risk. Learn how to behave on the Internet by adding some good practices in using it.
How to improve online privacy and protect our data
Annoying advertisements on some websites, spam pouring into your inbox, or data theft, it’s never too late to improve online privacy. Here are some tips you can use to become a model Internet user and protect your online privacy.
1. How to protect online privacy using secure browsers
First, check if you are using a safe and secure browser. Safe browsers help you prevent threats when browsing the Internet. For example, they block cookies that collect data, such as the websites you have visited or your login details and passwords. Secure browsers also protect your identity and do not share your IP address, location, and other data, unlike their competitors.
2. How to protect personal data by visiting secure HTTPS websites only
HTTPS or HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure is an encrypted version of standard HTTP that launches any web address. HTTPS ensures that your data is encrypted when it is transmitted between the browser and the server. If a website supports the use of HTTPS, it is automatically enabled. You can find out if HTTPS is supported by the lock icon in the address bar.
Ensure you only visit websites that support HTTPS; this protocol protects you from hacker attacks and prevents your data from being intercepted and used for other purposes.
3. How to protect personal data and privacy by using a VPN while browsing
Using the browser’s Private Browsing is definitely a step in the right direction to improve online privacy and security. It means that your browsing history will not be saved, and all cookies generated during the browsing session will be deleted when the session is closed. At the same time, it’s not the most effective way to block third-party tracking. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will still be able to monitor your online activity.
A better solution here is to use a VPN in the form of a browser extension or a standalone application on your computer. Using a VPN will ensure that your connection remains secure and that your data is encrypted. All your provider will see is that you are using a private connection while browsing.
4. How to protect your accounts with a password manager
Do you remember all your logins and passwords that you use online? If so, you are probably using the same password on multiple accounts. For maximum protection, your login details should follow these guidelines:
- Use a combination of characters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols in your passwords.
- Make sure your password is long enough – use more than 12 characters.
- Never reuse the same password.
- Use a different password for each account.
If you follow these tips, it will be difficult for anyone or anything to keep track of all your logins and passwords for different accounts. However, using a password manager can help with this. With a password manager, you need to remember a username and password for the main account. Then, the software takes care of the rest by generating unique and inviolable password details for all your accounts.
5. Improve online privacy by updating your software regularly
In addition to giving you access to better features and usability, software and system updates also include bug fixes and security-related patches. One way hackers, malware, and viruses use to intercept your private information are through outdated software.
Regularly updating your operating system can save you a lot of trouble by eliminating your PC’s vulnerabilities. For best results, set up automatic software updates and ensure all your applications are working as expected.
6. How to protect accounts by enabling two-factor authentication for online accounts
Two-factor authentication or two-step authentication is an additional layer of security for your online accounts that you can use in addition to your login details to protect yourself from hacking. It comes in the form of a code that you receive on your phone, which you must enter on the website after your password to prove that you are the owner of the account.
You can get the code via a text message on your phone or use an authentication app like Google Authenticator to receive it. It may not be the security measure listed, but it will definitely keep your accounts safe.
All popular social networks like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter have privacy settings that are regularly updated. A good practice is to check the privacy options now and then.
Take the time to review the Privacy Settings section of each social network you use and make sure you are satisfied with the amount of personal information shared with the network and visible to other users.
It is better to prevent something from happening than to face the consequences later. So don’t wait for one of your accounts to be hacked or compromised. Instead, protect your computer by taking these simple preventative security measures.