Nearly two decades into the 21st century and numerous advancements later, it seems that we are still losing at the front of online privacy.
On one hand, it has become imperative for us to use the latest technologies, while on the other it has become even easier for those with ill intentions – the hackers to find even newer ways to invade our privacy.
Going back to a life without email, social networking apps and the Internet as a whole to avoid identity theft or system damage doesn’t seem like a good idea considering how our lives are absolutely dependent on the cyberspace.
So what can be done about this?
While a perfect solution may not exist, there exist ways to enhance our online privacy and achieve some peace of mind. Here are some of them:
- Routinely Change your Passwords:
There is a good chance that you have witnessed the requirements for your password go from reasonable and too hard to downright ridiculous.
Although brute force attacks are still a thing, there is a good chance your password gets out simply as a result of a major data breach. To enhance your security, make it a habit to change your password every month or so.
If you have trouble remembering too many passwords, you can sign up for a Password manager.
- Use a Reliable Anti-Virus Software:
Even though it is assumed that all internet users know about the importance and critical nature of Anti-Virus software’s and how important it is to use them, it is also true that most people like to depend on Free Anti-Virus or one they can use on Trial.
However, that can be really harmful since a free Anti-Virus can never provide the same protection from viruses, spyware, infectious USB drives, CDs and other forms of malicious threats.
Antivirus also provides two-way firewall protection putting checks on every incoming or outgoing data or mail through the internet while also blocking anything it finds suspicious during the transmission process.
Therefore, it’s probably a good idea for you to invest in a reliable Antivirus software such as Symantec, Norton or Kaspersky.
- Use a secure file-sharing client:
With time, as our ability to create content enhances, we are sending more and more complex files over the internet, and thus facing the risk of such files getting intercepted or corrupted.
Therefore, do go for a reliable file-sharing client that mask the information being sent along with its destination.
- Stay away from sites that do not have “https”:
The “https” you often see in URLs of the sites you are visiting stands for “hypertext transfer protocol” Sites without it are not secure, making the data being shared with these sites vulnerable for an interception.
Even though more and more sites are shifting to the secure protocol, it is probably a good idea for you not to let your guard down.
- Create Backup of your data:
Backup all of your data and keep syncing your devices with the cloud maintaining your backups. This will save you any stress in case you are hit by a ransomware attack, making all of your encrypted data unusable.
- Use two-factor authentication:
Using two factor authentication is highly recommended. This way, if your password somehow gets leaked or becomes part of a breach, you could still be having a second layer of protection and no hacker would be able to access your private data.
- Never run away from Operating System updates:
While it’s true that operating system updates can, at times prove to be a real pain in the behind, they are a necessary evil. Most users opt out of these updates and end up getting fed up of these, but they shouldn’t.
This is because these updates contain critical security patches meant to offer protection against the newly discovered threats or any threats that the cybersecurity experts find looming and feel the need to protect against.
For instance, ransomware, malware, Trojan horse viruses and many other malicious attacking tools of similar nature. So, the next time Windows prompts you for an update, it is best if you do not choose “Later” or snooze it and let Windows do its job.
- Prefer “passphrases” over “passwords”:
The main difference between a passphrase and password is that a passphrase can be thought of as simply a longer password and is usually 15 characters or more.
It can be anything from a favorite song lyric, quote from a famous person, dialogue from a movie or simply something your friend said to you last week.
You can think of a series of words that would be easier for you to remember and use the first letter of each word in the phrase, along with a combination of different numbers and alphanumeric characters as your passphrase.
- Subscribe to a VPN service:
VPNs enable you to hide your online activity from those trying to access it without your permission. This means you can have excellent protection when you are outside of your home and using a public WI-FI connection since a VPN completely encrypts all of your data before you send it.
Therefore, if in case a hacker is running a WI-FI connection, he wouldn’t be able to access your data when you connect with a VPN.
There are a number of great options available when it comes to VPN. However, when you Buy VPN, you must go for the one that uses military-grade encryption to maintain an impenetrable secure connection.
There are other factors involved as well like the number of active servers being maintained in how many locations worldwide, the adaptability across all devices and platforms at the most economical rates possible, etc.
However, never opt for a Free VPN service as they might offer a large network of servers claiming the best encryption and security but free vpns are not secure at all. Perhaps, all they want is to grab your personal data and sell it to third-party companies and ad agencies most commonly to show you annoying ads on your screens.
Elisa Collins is a tech professional who loves to write on cyber-security related topics. She is currently associated with a business VPN program as a content strategist and digital content production head.