If you are thinking of taking some steps to protect your privacy online, now is the perfect time. Here are 5 tried and tested tips on how you can make your digital life a lot safer.
Looking back to 2017 we can safely say it was not the best year for our online privacy and security. Last year we witnessed some of the largest security breaches in the digital history, not to mention countless ransomware attacks and phishing scams that hackers were working on all year round.
Unfortunately, cybersecurity experts are not optimistic about 2018 either. According to their predictions, hackers will be smarter, surveillance will get stronger, and Internet users will suffer from even more damaging cyber attacks. While it’s not possible to shield yourself from all cyber threats, there are some actions you can take to protect your sensitive data and have as much privacy as possible when browsing the web.
1. Create strong passwords
Passwords are the ones that keep your digital accounts securely locked – at least they are supposed to do that. If you use your pet’s name, your birth date, or simply can’t think of anything more secure than 12345 when asked to create a new password, don’t be surprised to find your account hacked.
Creating unique passwords is a must. What’s also extremely important – never use the same password for all your accounts. If you aren’t so much into playing memory games, get a password manager that will generate a secure password each time you need one.
2. Use two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is available on many popular account services, including Google, Apple, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This security feature adds an extra security layer to your account, meaning that cybercriminals won’t be able to get in even if they manage to discover your password. To access an account secured with 2FA, you will need to enter your password and a unique code that is sent to your phone via a text message.
Even though text-based 2FA has been recently revealed to be hackable, it’s better than nothing. For maximum security, we recommend using an alternative authentication method, such as Google’s Authenticator app.
3. Keep your software up to Date
If you are one of those who ignore or postpone software update prompts, you better consider changing your behavior. Regular updates are there for a reason and very often include security patches that are needed to protect your device from various threats. So if you skip these updates, you simply put your private data at risk.
4. Get yourself a VPN
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is by far the best solution to stay private and safe on the Internet. What a VPN does, it hides your actual IP address and encrypts your Internet traffic, which ensures that your personal data stays safe from cyber criminals and unwanted snoopers. With a VPN enabled, you can browse safely and without worry of being tracked or spied on.
Even if you are not that much into technology or just have started taking care of your privacy, don’t be scared of the geeky name ‘virtual private network.’ Most of the VPNs are designed to be user-friendly and using them is as easy as using any other app. Just keep in mind to choose a reliable VPN provider that uses trusted security protocols and has a strict no-logs policy, such as NordVPN.
5. Be cautious on public Wi-Fi
How many times have you connected to a free Wi-Fi hotspot provided in a coffee shop, hotel or a shopping mall? While no one can argue with the fact that public Wi-Fi is convenient, it is also one of the most common places to get your personal data stolen. Hackers have their own methods to intercept your Internet traffic and get any information they wish: your passwords, credit card details, etc.
So to stay on the safe side, you have two choices: either not use public Wi-Fi (not the best option, right?) or use a VPN. It will secure your Internet connection, and no hackers will be able to intercept it.
And one more thing to remember – always use common sense. Don’t open suspicious emails, don’t download attachments from an unknown sender, don’t click on every ad that pops up, and provide your personal details only when necessary.