In this digital era, we generate a lot of data, with some estimates suggesting 28,875 GB of data per second. With that enormous amount of data, we divulge a massive amount of personal information. Be it cloud-based photo collection or the websites that we surf, and it is getting easier for cybercriminals to do the digital equivalent of rummaging through our garbage.
Whether it is Facebook selling your data, overreaching government surveillance, or the hackers (looking for fast money), various people want access to your data. In this process, your online security and privacy are at stake.
If you want to defend yourself online and protect your privacy, follow this guide, and learn how to safeguard yourself online.
- Always Browse in Private Mode
Anonymous mode is not just meant to hide your browsing history. Browsing anonymously is the first line of defense! Google’s Incognito Mode or Firefox’s Private Windows adds an extra layer of security if not complete online privacy.
What anonymous mode does is that it blocks the cookies, and that prevents your online tracking to a great extent. Well, cookies are meant to store information about your online interactions. Blocking the cookies from doing so will achieve more privacy online.
- Start Using a Private Email Service
Do you want to send a sensitive or confidential email, but are worried about its security? You can try using EPRIVO, a free anonymous private email service that provides encryption and authentication along with physical security. You can use it along with your existing email service provider.
The sender will have complete access to the email, and he can even block it from forwarding to other users. The sender can also unsend the mail if he wishes to do so. Since the mails are encrypted, the hackers will find it tough to access them.
- Try Using a VPN
What would you do if you are using a public network and need to access sensitive data on your company’s private server? Doing so from an unsecured source could put the data, your company’s business, and your job at stake. That’s where a VPN comes into action.
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, lets the user securely access a private network through public networks. Just like the firewall protects your data on the computer, VPNs protect the same online.
VPNs are extremely popular among corporations as they secure sensitive data when connecting remote data centers. VPNs use a mixture of dedicated connections and encryption protocols to get virtual P2P connections. The hackers won’t be able to access all your data, even if they manage to siphon off some of the data.
- Only use trusted apps
If you are using an android phone, download the apps available on Play Store only, and App store in case of iPhone. The apps uploaded on these platforms are checked for threats before reaching the users.
However, if you download the app from a third-party location, available for Android, there are no checks if the apps are safe or malicious. So, you are advised to disable the installation of apps from unknown sources.
- Two-factor authentication
The concept of two-factor authentication or 2FA is not new to anyone. The 2FA instantly generates the passcode and is reliable, which makes it a tough nut to crack. Studies suggest that accounts secured with this type of security are rarely compromised.
There are various types of two-step authentication, such as text message code, authenticator app code, biometrics technology, and physical key.
- Use secure passwords
Using weak or easy to guess passwords to secure your account is to make you an easy pick for the attackers. These passwords are as if you haven’t set them at all. To keep your account and personal data safe, use complex and secure passwords.
Your password must contain a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Another important thing to keep in mind is not to use the same password for various accounts. Though it is tough to remember several passwords, it is worth it if you want to secure your data.
- Switch to Hipster Applications
Not only your operating system is vulnerable to attacks, but other applications as well. The hackers or cyber attackers try to find loopholes in applications that you install on your device. That is why you get updates on regular updates and patches to fix these bugs and loopholes.
Like you can avoid some viruses by switching from windows, you can reduce the risk of being targeted by switching to less popular tools and software. For instance, you can switch to LibreOffice from Microsoft Office.
Obscurity, however, does not mean security. When you see an unfamiliar software to be downloaded, you might not be sure of its security. It may contain vulnerabilities that may risk your security. Make sure that the applications or tools that you are using are properly maintained by the provider, or you could be leaving yourself more exposed than ever.
- Protect Your Smartphones
These are some of the tips to implement while using your desktop. But we store our private data on our phones as well. How do we protect the data on our smartphones? Well, here are some additional tips to take care of the information you store on your phones, such as your photos, contacts, apps, and much more.
- Install security software
Security software can help avoid various potential threats that may attack your device. They are often tailor-made to address unique issues. This software can help control your phone from afar, and it can also show you the location of a device if it is lost or stolen.
If you have misplaced your device, you can erase the sensitive data remotely if you fear it may find its way into the wrong hands. It gives the user the ability to render it all but useless in the hands of a thief.
- Secure your messaging
If you are using unencrypted SMS texting, like the one offered by your wireless carrier, you are leaving yourself open to monitoring by your carrier, government, and hackers. Encrypted messages offer end-to-end encryption for users.
You should try using message encryption apps to send sensitive data over the net. Various apps also offer end-to-end encryption for phone calls as well for documents. These apps will help protect your personal data from the prying eyes of the hackers who would monitor your activities.
Cybersecurity has become a top priority of almost all organizations. This is because the number of data breaches and cyber attackers is exponentially increasing. The hackers have evolved a lot, and now they use sophisticated techniques, such as artificial intelligence, to break into well-protected systems.
Companies are, therefore, increasing their budgets and hiring cybersecurity experts to deal with the vulnerabilities in existing security protocols.
However, you also have to give your best to keep your data and account safe. Most of the time, the attackers are dependent on a user’s response to their cyber trap.