Given how much of our lives we now conduct online, we must keep some control over how far the scope of our digital existence extends. While many people have their own tried-and-true methods for maintaining their online privacy and security, others may find developing a workable strategy daunting. But, you do not have to be a tech geek to implement these strategies to protect your digital privacy. So much so that many of our recommendations for boosting your internet security boil down to common sense. So without further ado, let’s dive right in:
- Use Strong Passwords
It has been over three decades since we first connected to the internet. However, we have still not learned our lesson about the importance of using strong passwords for our online accounts. A recent survey revealed that “123456” and “password” are two of the most commonly used passwords on the internet. They are undoubtedly simple to remember, but it also makes them simple to crack.
If you do not know the ins and outs of creating a strong password, the following tips will help:
- Lengthen your password: Currently, a sophisticated approach, “brute force attack,” is gaining popularity among cybercriminals. This method uses a computer program to try every possible combination of letters, numbers, and special characters to guess your password. So using longer passwords means hackers will have a hard time cracking them. Experts recommend that you also develop a unique username, especially during video conferencing. You can also use a username generator for strong usernames for different accounts.
- Do not use personal information: Do not use details including your birthdate, anniversary, address, place of birth, high school, or even the names of close friends, family members, or pets as your password. This information could be easy to guess.
- Invest in a quality password manager: It might be difficult to think about a tough password and remember it at the same time. A password manager will do both for you. Each of these credentials is linked to a master password-protected database. Besides, the additional features of a password manager include the ability to sync newly created passwords across all of your devices and monitor your password usage to prevent you from reusing the same password in various places.
- Limit Online Sharing
One of the most effective ways to avoid being a victim of an online scam is to limit the amount of personal information you share online. But, of course, social media comes first to mind when we think of information sharing. And that is an excellent place to start.
Sharing too much personal information on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram could make it easier for cybercriminals to steal your identity or gain access to your financial data. So be extremely cautious when posting photos of yourself or your loved ones, locations, or other personal information you would not want outsiders to know.
Avoid filling out the “About Me” sections of your social media accounts. Disclosing your birth year or location may jeopardize your security big time. Also, it is a good idea to play with the privacy settings. You may only want to share your content with people you know and trust.
- Install An Antivirus
We all know that antivirus software keeps viruses at a safe distance from your computer. That said, this is only one of their many applications. For example, trojan horse software acts as legitimate software but secretly steals sensitive data. In addition, a machine infected with bots becomes part of a zombie army, ready to launch a denial-of-service attack, spam the internet, or do any other task ordered by the bot herder. All of these threats, and more, can be neutralized by a reliable antivirus program.
Many people assume that they can install antivirus software and forget about it, letting it do its job in the background while they go about their day. Well, the best way to make the most of your antivirus software is to analyze it regularly. Most antivirus programs will show a green checkmark when everything is in good working order. If you launch the program and notice any warning lights turning yellow or red, you should read the instructions and act accordingly.
You might wonder, “wait, is not antivirus incorporated into windows?” To answer your question, third-party antivirus programs are light years ahead of the built-in protection offered by any windows.
- Watch Where Your Click
Scammers use phishing to trap people by revealing sensitive information over the Internet. Typically, they do so by sending bogus emails purporting to be from credit card companies, banks, or other financial agencies. Emails like these may threaten to shut or freeze your account until you click on a link and verify your financial details.
Never give in to these cons. Phishing often links direct victims to fake versions of legitimate financial institution websites. Hovering over a link to see its destination URL can help you determine whether or not to click on it. Do not click on it if it does not correspond to the financial website you visit.
Furthermore, remember that no reputable financial institution would ever contact you via email asking for personal financial details. When in doubt about the legitimacy of an email like this, it is best to go straight to the online account portal of the respective financial institution. Alternatively, you can contact your financial institution directly to find out whether there are any issues with your account.
It has always been vital to take protective measures when using the internet. But, over time, our reliance on the internet has increased manifold. Whether socializing, entertainment, shopping, or work, more and more people are leveraging the online space to meet their everyday needs. The good news is that new technological developments have made it easier to protect digital privacy. However, if you are not well-versed in the latest tech trends, simply taking the measures covered in this post will get the job done.