How To Protect Your Online Privacy?

Why should you care about your online privacy? It’s not like anyone is watching.

Online privacy is a hot topic these days. People are more aware of the risks and dangers of internet browsing than ever before, thanks in no small part to Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. But even though people know they should be careful, many still struggle with making it happen in their daily lives. The article will provide readers with tips on protecting themselves while surfing online and hence maintain their privacy.

What people say and do on the Internet often stays there. Wrong!

Steps to protect your online privacy:

1) Use an anonymous email account. This is the best advice anyone can give you for maintaining your online privacy. If you are on social media, try to avoid using your real name and don’t list out any personal information about yourself on the Internet (like phone number, address, or workplace).

2) Never store sensitive data in the cloud. It may seem convenient, but it’s not safe at all because once you upload the data, it’s vulnerable to both hacking attacks and government surveillance programs (like PRISM, which Edward Snowden disclosed).

3) Don’t leave cookies enabled. Cookies allow websites to track visitors’ habits and preferences without their knowledge or consent. You should permanently disable cookies whenever you’re not using a website. If possible, avoid plugins altogether because they are used to track your every move and can be hacked quite easily.

4) Use secure connections for online transactions: When opening up private information, remove personally-identifying information from the equation as much as possible. This means setting up an encrypted connection between your computer or device and a server where any data you input is secured by encryption before it is sent over the net so that it cannot be intercepted by anyone else along the way.

5) Use VPN and Private Browsing: You can use a virtual private network (VPN) service to protect your privacy and security on the Internet. VPNs route all of the traffic from your computer through a secure server, meaning that any hacker or eavesdropper will only be able to see that encrypted data is being sent between the two points – not what you are doing or sending. In addition, if you are concerned about keeping your web browsing habits private, consider using Incognito mode in Google’s Chrome browser or other browsers which have similar modes. When turned on, it provides an additional layer of encryption between you and anyone monitoring where your web traffic goes for those sites accessed while in this mode.

6) Avoid using social media at work: Most companies these days monitor their employees’ use of social media, so if you want to maintain your privacy while in the office (or anywhere else), it may be better to avoid using Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or others on sites that are blocked by corporate firewalls. Also, always keep an up-to-date inventory list for all computer equipment and software owned by the company and do not install any programs without permission from IT administrators – this goes for your personal computers as well.

7) Look out for unusual activity: Being careful to cover your tracks online might seem like paranoia at first, but odds are someone is keeping tabs on what you’re doing online. It’s a good idea to know when sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., start sniffing around your personal information a bit more than usual. If you notice any unusual activity from these sites, check your accounts for signs of tampering and change passwords immediately if needed.

8) Avoid getting sucked into the cloud: It seems like everyone is using data storage in the cloud, so why not do it as well? There are many reasons why companies avoid using cloud services because they have a lot to lose if those servers where their sensitive data resides get hacked or stolen. Although some would argue that having the files on an external server somewhere far away from prying eyes is much safer than keeping them on-site at all times, it makes things easier for hackers and identity thieves who can retrieve sensitive information quickly without having to break into anything. Use cloud services with caution and only for information that you’d rather not keep in your home or office; otherwise, it might be better to keep your data on a hard drive at home.

9) Avoid using public Wi-Fi and Hotspot: Public Wi-Fi connections are convenient for many things, but that convenience comes with risks. Public networks are hazardous because they tend to be unsecured or poorly secured, allowing anyone within range of the network to gain access as well. If you must use a public Wi-Fi connection, make sure that any sensitive information you’re sending is encrypted and verify the identity of the people running the hotspots when in doubt.

10) Do not leave tracking devices on your computer: Unless you have given explicit permission for it to do so, your computer should never be collecting data about you while operating in your office or home environment. If it is organizing such data – inform immediately! Also, check if any of those devices can track your location in real-time. If you find any – remove them immediately and disable the feature that enabled this collection of data.

11) Avoid unsecured connections: Never connect to another computer, server, or network without using a proper encryption solution (such as SSL). Even if no sensitive information is expected/transferred, this rule should be followed. Do NOT use telnet either for transferring data to/from remote locations. Always properly verify SSL certificates and do not accept a self-signed certificate unless it’s actually needed by applications you’re using. Make sure to install patches regularly and have firewalls active on both ends of the connection always.

12) Use passwords for everything: A password manager like LastPass helps keep track of all the different usernames and passwords you use for everything online. It’s a lot safer than using one password everywhere, which makes it easier to hack into any account if they get their hands on just one password. Ensure that your work’s network is secure and enforced unique passwords for everyone (this goes for the computers too).

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