Maintaining digital privacy and staying secure online is a never-ending struggle. All is not lost, as with some simple advice, and it can be easy to make sure you are more secure than doing nothing at all.
ISP’s are being encouraged to keep copies of user data; this can include all surfing habits, sent or received emails and your search history.
Your data can be sold on to third-party marketing agencies where ads are targeted at you while appearing innocent at the time.
A lot of us take the internet for granted as being free and uncensored. This is very far from the truth, and it is being controlled more than we think.
Most connections are made via our web browsers. Newer iterations of these are helping force security and can prevent much of our online identity from being stolen.
Incognito mode is the first step in achieving this. Once your browsing session has finished, all of your session data can be wiped from your system.
This means that should anyone find a way into your system, no cookies or browser history remains there.
A step further is browser extensions that can be installed and help beef up your privacy and security. Ad-blockers such as uBlock Origin and tracking prevention extensions like Disconnect are two of the most popular you can use to help minimize threats and annoyances.
Private and Public Connections
The best way to protect against anyone tapping into your connection is to get a VPN. These not only protect your connection when out and about and using public hotspots or Wi-Fi, but they can also protect your home.
VPNs come in two flavours, free and paid for. The free versions can be loaded with ads, offer limited data usage, or some altogether free ones have been shown to gather your data and sell it on.
The top-rated paid VPN’s offer plenty of features while at the same time offering unlimited usage.
ISP’s can’t track usage and store your data, and any government who wishes to snoop is faced with the same problem.
All connections you make are spoofed, and your IP address could be one for a different geo-location rather than where you live.
Malware can be one of the biggest threats, and it can find its way into your system without you noticing.
Often it piggy-backs on other legitimate software and runs in the background. This can run scripts on websites or log anything you type and pass the information back to hackers.
This malware is a step up from the humble virus and can now cause so much damage and disruption. Large companies continually release anti-malware software to combat this.
One of the most significant threats to our privacy comes from social media. We all heard of Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal and how millions of user details were sold.
Situations like this are more common than we know, and it was only by chance this one came to light.
The actual weak areas on social media are from the users themselves. Postings appear harmless, but many people scour social media platforms and use any bit of user information they find to build up profiles.
To make sure you don’t fall foul to what you post, personal posts should be limited in information, and you should never include telephone numbers, addresses, or places of work.
Anything which positions you in a particular place at a particular time can make things easy for these predators.
House burglaries have occurred when a simple post on vacation has let thieves know the home will be empty.
Social media sights are tightening up on their security options and have settings that restrict what can be posted and to whom.
Summing it all Up
Much of the internet is about sharing or signing up for this and signing up to join mailing lists. In many cases, once your information has been given once, it remains stored even if you wish to unsubscribe.
All of the above should be used, and firstly education is an essential part of what information you divulge. (Learn How to Delete Instagram Account)
Second, browser extensions should be installed to lock down your browser and prevent annoying ads and tracking websites from monitoring your actions.
The last two parts to follow are choosing one of the top-rated VPN services which can make you appear invisible to any prying eyes.
As a final precaution, a good anti-malware package can ensure no information is logged and sent to someone it shouldn’t.