Maintaining your privacy online and protecting yourself can feel like a daunting prospect without the right knowledge. A few changes to your devices and accounts can help secure your online presence from those with malicious intent. These changes are simple enough that you can do them in a single afternoon and remember them in future.
Strengthen your password strategy
Using the same password across multiple accounts can leave you vulnerable. There have been data breaches in the past where online account information has been compromised. Although it might be for a single account, if that’s your password for everything then your other accounts could be at risk.
You can check to see whether your details have been affected by a data breach, but being proactive is better. If you feel like your passwords aren’t up to scratch, there are a few things you can do:
- Vary your password usage between accounts
- Change your passwords regularly (every 6 months)
- Use stronger passwords
- Between 10-12 characters or longer where possible
- Use a combination of upper and lower case
- Include symbols and numbers when you can
By using these rules, it will significantly lengthen the time it would take a hacker to obtain your password using a brute force attack.
If you’re struggling to manage a large number of passwords, a secure password manager can help. Make sure to use one from a reputable company and still follow the rules above. Some can automatically generate complex passwords and store them for you as well.
Make active use of a VPN
When we use the internet, we all leave traces of our data behind. This can be data we actively publish, as well as passively hand out when interacting online. It can be hard to manage this digital footprint, but having the right tools makes it easier.
All you need to do is use a VPN download, get set up, and voila – your traffic is now encrypted. What does this mean? The data transmitted from your network is disguised by your virtual private network (VPN). Because the data is sent through an encrypted tunnel, your internet service provider (ISP) can’t snoop on the information.
Your online identity will also be protected as your IP address will be hidden from others online. This can give you greater privacy and protection from people trying to find out private information about you. If you play a lot of games online, a VPN can also help with bandwidth throttling and preventing DDoS attacks.
Be smarter with your security online
One of the best tools you can have when using the internet is your common sense. This may sound obvious but remaining vigilant and critical of things online will keep you as safe as possible.
Having safeguards in place, like a good firewall and anti-virus software, can help mitigate against any mishaps. You should still try to avoid any incidents through smarter online behavior rather than relying on these, though.
- Don’t click on random links on websites, adverts or emails – if the link looks suspicious, avoid it. Also, check where emails have come from if they’re asking you to click a link.
- Avoid oversharing on social media –although there is some content you can share online without issue, avoid putting too much of your personal information out on social media platforms.
- If something is free, your data is probably the cost–when you’re given something for nothing online, your data is likely the price you pay. It could be for serving ads to you on streaming sites or selling.
By improving your awareness in these three separate areas, you can drastically improve your online security. Use the programs and software from trusted providers to simplify these areas for better privacy and protection. Most of all, stay aware of the data you leave behind online and take actions to minimise your digital footprint.