7 Things You Should Know About Your Online Privacy
Online privacy is always a hot topic because of the increased use of technology in our day to day lives. The internet has become a basic need with many people using it to shop online, pay bills and connect with loved ones. However, with this freedom comes the threat to the confidentiality of an individual’s personal information as they browse online. It is for this reason that many online users do their best to maintain their privacy every time they log into a computer or mobile device.
Although protection of online privacy is often done through the setting of passwords or using application locks, they may not be enough to safeguard your information. However, there are some proven ways that can ensure you enjoy online privacy and they include:
1) Log out of your accounts
It is crucial that you log out of your bank account or social media account once you are done using them. This simple act can keep away intruders from accessing your personal information from your computer or through online hacking. As long as you are signed into any of your accounts, you are exposed to tracking, and your online privacy is at risk. In case, you are using a public network ensure you clear the browsing history as well so that the chances of being tracked are minimal.
2) Always use a VPN online
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are designed to redirect traffic from a device to a tunnel that is secure and encoded. When your online information is encrypted, it means that anyone seeking to read it will only see meaningless words and symbols that they cannot decipher. Regular use of a VPN also enables third parties just to see the network’s IP address and not the one connected to your personal computer. In some cases, online browsing using a VPN may also grant you access to information that is restricted in certain countries. When looking for a VPN, consider looking at the top 10 vpn services (by thetop10sites.com) to get a reliable service provider.
3) Avoid accessing confidential accounts on public networks
Most public areas offer their clients free Wi-Fi that allows them to access social media and their private accounts. However, these public networks are not safe and should be avoided if you want to maintain your online privacy. Majority of public networks use the “free” internet connection to gather information on users and share them with third parties. Also, if you are using a rogue network, your device may be attacked by malware or your password decrypted giving online fraudsters access to sensitive and personal data. Apart from using public Wi-Fi, also avoid using public computers to access private financial information as they may be infected by malware or be used to retrieve databy the next user.
4) Ignore suspicious e-mails
Sending spam emails is one of the popular ways in which scammers try to break through the privacy of online users. The e-mails always promise a prize and some might contain a familiar name to entice you to click on it. Nevertheless, such e-mails should be deleted immediately so that your online privacy is not at risk. In case, you had shared your e-mail address as part of a contest or to get a freebie, ensure that the message is indeed from the company before opening it. Most times, suspicious e-mails are full of malware that is quickly injected into your computer leaving you vulnerable to attacks.
5) Use private web browsers
Anonymous browsing is the best way to maintain online privacy both at home and in public areas. Private search engines allow you to navigate sites without the results of your search being tracked and shared with third parties. These search engines focus on keeping your browsing activities as private as possible and do not use your search results to predict the results of your future searches. Additionally, you can opt to use private browsing which isfamiliar with popular search engines, but in the real sense, they do not safeguard your privacy. It merely deletes your cache, cookies and browsing history from the computer you have used and search engine but does not prevent third-party entities from tracking and collecting data on your browsing activities.
6) Check on social media privacy settings
Social media sites encourage users to share as much information as they would like with friends and family with the promise that their data will be protected by simply activating privacy settings. However, it is essential to customize their social media settings to limit the amount of data that is being shared online. Ensure that your location is always turned off and they do not have any access to your camera or private photos. Furthermore, it is advisable to regularly review the settings on your various social media accounts to make sure that information shared is only visible friends and trusted individuals instead of the public.
7) Register an alternate e-mail address
Majority of websites that run regular contests or have a newsletter often request online users to share their e-mail address for further communication. However, the simple act of sharing the address can place you at risk of having your data collected and shared with third parties. If you are interested in participating in online contests or receiving free information, it is advisable to register an alternative e-mail address. The additional e-mail address will help keep your real identity private as you engage with websites from all over the world. Thankfully, there are some sites that offer disposable e-mail addresses for use on a temporary basis.
Generally, it is always important to know that you are in control of all the information that you decide to share online. Decide only to share data that you are comfortable with letting others know because you cannot erase it from the internet. Always keep in mind that not sharing your e-mail addresses, personal data or using a public network is the best way to keep your online activities private.