How to Safeguard Your Privacy Online
Online privacy matters – so what do you need to do to safeguard your privacy online – we take a look at how to remain anonymous when searching the web.
Update Your Social Privacy Settings
Unknown to many, social media accounts hold a wealth of valuable/private information about you, most of which is visible by default to everyone on the internet. You can, however, limit who can view your personal information on social media on the privacy settings tab. If possible, review visibility settings and only allow as much as you need to your friends, and block everyone else from accessing such. Some social networks also allow users to restrict access to such information to just you. Consider reviewing these privacy settings if you haven’t already to protect your online reputation.
Avoid Storing Private Information on Public Storage Portals
Never store private information/data (passport scans, passwords, personal photos, etc.) on shared platforms. As much as you’d want to access these files from anywhere, Google Docs, Dropbox, etc., aren’t the best place to store your sensitive information. Some of these storage servers are meant to keep files to share with others, hence might not be as secure. Be sure to keep these files in an encrypted archive if you have to.
Keep Your Primary Phone Number and E-Mail Address Private
This is the only best way to avoid hundreds or even thousands of spam mail in your inbox. If possible, create a second e-mail address for subscriptions and online stores, and only share the private address with people you trust. The same applies to your number. Sharing your number with everyone will only allow telemarketers to disturb you.
Only Use Messaging Apps with End-To-End Encryption
While encryption may be standard with most modern apps, only a handful use end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption means service providers cannot decrypt or store your messages on their servers. Only you and the receiver get to see the message, hence improved security. WhatsApp is one of the few messaging apps with this form of encryption enabled by default. Most other popular messaging apps, including Google Allo, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger, do not use end-to-end encryption.
Use Strong Passwords
Easy-to-guess passwords are the weakest link to your accounts and everything else you may hold dear. While you’ll want a password you can easily remember, the same applies to anyone looking to break into your online accounts. Using a complex and hard-to-guess password is the only way to keep your online accounts safe. Experts also recommend changing these passwords frequently to prevent brute attacks. It would help if you also didn’t use the same password across all platforms, a reason we recommend having a password manager at hand. With a password manager, all you’d need is to remember the master password to access the rest.
Review Permissions for Browser Extensions and Apps
Most people will blindly allow browser extensions and mobile apps access to crucial information, including files, contacts, microphones, camera, location, etc., without second-guessing. Such permissions make your private information vulnerable, a reason you should be wary of granting the same. Many companies/app developers use such permissions to access your personal data and learn more about you, making it easier to push targeted adverts or worse. That said, you might want to review all app and browser extension permissions to ensure they only have access to what is necessary. Consider uninstalling apps and extensions you no longer use or need.