Steps You Can Take To Win Back Your Online Privacy
Take a close look at your smartphone. How much information about you is stored on it and how safe do you think that information is?
Chances are you use your information to buy stuff online, connect with your friends, family and colleagues on social media. And that you use Google almost every other day. Of course you do. It is almost impossible to participate in modern life without doing at least some of that stuff.
At a basic level, your privacy is constantly being invaded by the sites you visit, your ISP, your government and even the services you use, like Google or Facebook. So, the next time you lock your phone, thinking you are keeping it ‘safe’ from anyone being able to steal your personal information. Think again.
If you want to achieve the freedom to browse the web without having to worry about your internet privacy all the time, then you need to take the following steps:
1 - Have a strong password
Most of us know the importance of having a strong password. But what you need to stop and think is — do you really have a strong password? If not, then you absolutely should have one. And to do that, you have to use a combination of letters, symbols and numbers. You need to make your password really, really strong. Same goes for your computer and smartphone passwords. Don’t use short pins. Use a full password that includes text, numbers and symbols. Another important thing you can do is to use a password manager. A password manager will help you create all your passwords inside of it. This keeps a catalogue of all your passwords in one place. And, it also syncs across all your devices, so that makes things much more manageable. It goes without saying that you should in turn have a super strong password protecting your password manager.
2 - Be careful when answering security questions
The rule of thumb is to never answer security questions truthfully. Yes, you do not want to enter your real place of birth or where you went to school, etc. The solution to your questions should be something that no one is able to guess. The solution to your question should also be a password, and a complex one at that. Don’t worry, you can save this password along with your other passwords in your password manager for safekeeping. That way, anyone who wishes to access your account without your permission will not be able to gain access simply because they looked up where you're born.
3 - Don’t use your actual phone number
Phone numbers have proven to be a big security risk. Now, there’s a high chance that you’ve had to put in your phone number online at least once in your life. Starting now, though, you know better and you have to try to avoid this at all costs. Yes, it can be challenging as sites like Google typically ask for a phone number. But there is a solution. You can get something like inumbr. This is going to give you a new phone number which in turn forwards everything to your smartphone. However, if you do not want to go through this, and if you absolutely have to use a phone number, then enter it in a website that has two-factor authentication. Having two-factor authentication is a better option for your internet security than having no authentication at all.
4 - Only download and use trusted software
Do not download or use any sketchy software or plug-in. Only use trusted software, add-ons and extensions. Remove unused apps from both your computer and phone. Only have the apps you absolutely need to use on your device. If you want to optimize your work and prevent mass surveillance, check out Task Engine. It is a powerful privacy optimized project management software that can be downloaded on desktop and laptop computers and used on web and mobile applications. The interface is highly user-friendly, and features include instant messaging and meeting, work-time calculation, idle time calculation, synchronized task assignment and tracking, amongst others. You can also sign up for unlimited project follow-up support and VIP support. The software provides you with unlimited data history so you can rest assured that your record is safe and fully private.
5 - Have a secure VPN
To make your internet browsing experience private and secure, stay away from free VPNs. Instead, opt for using a VPN of your own. You are going to get a couple of key benefits from using your own VPN. First, a VPN is going to hide your identity on websites you visit, from your internet service provider and any person who tries to track you. Second, a VPN can also encrypt your traffic. That way, no one can see what you are doing online. Other common tip to keep in mind while browsing the web is to never store cookies, history and cache, or clear them out frequently. Also, avoid using proxies, and make sure to disable Bluetooth and your location as frequently as possible.
6 - Be wary when socializing online
When it comes to using social media, your best bet would be not to use it at all.
But we all know, it is easier said than done. So, if you, like most people, want to use social media, here are a few key pointers to keep you on the right track.
First, try not to use any real information of any kind when you sign up for your social media account. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
Second, while you are on social media, try not to interact with or add strangers. Turns out, your mom was right and talking to strangers can mean trouble.
Third, steer clear of posting in public comments as you never know who you are actually interacting with.
Fourth, there is the question of granting unnecessary permission to social media apps. This advice applies particularly to mobile users — don't give permissions you don't need to grant.
For instance, Twitter doesn't need to access your location, and Snapchat doesn't need to access your SMS text messages. Don't give them permissions they don't need. It's that simple.
Privacy is your human right. It lets you manage boundaries so you can open up to those you trust and shut out those you don't. In the last three decades, users’ privacy has come under attack too many times to count. But there is quite a lot you can do to stop it from happening further and to win your privacy back. With software like Trust Engine and sticking with these key tips, you are well on your way to becoming cyber secure.