You can maintain security against unauthorized efforts by outside parties to access your data and safeguard your privacy from people you don’t want to share your information with by making a few straightforward modifications to your devices and accounts. It’s simple to start. Here is a guide to the quick and easy modifications you may make to safeguard your online identity and personal data.
Utilize the tools at your disposal wisely to protect your data.
Why: Over the past ten years, numerous businesses including Equifax, Facebook, Home Depot, Marriott, Target, Yahoo, and many others have had data breaches and password leaks. If you have any online accounts, it’s likely that at least one of them has had data stolen by hackers.
Additionally, everyone should implement two-step authentication for their online accounts whenever it is feasible. This choice is offered by most banks and significant social media platforms. Two-step authentication involves two steps, as the name implies: inputting your password and a unique access code. For instance, the first step is entering your username and password to log into Facebook. In the second stage, you receive a temporary code from Facebook through text message or, preferable, through an app like Google Authenticator, which you enter to log in.
Why? Websites and businesses monitor everything you do online. Your location, browsing history, and other data are collected by every advertisement, social network button, and website. More than you might anticipate is revealed about you in the data collected. You could think you’re clever for not revealing all of your religious convictions on Facebook or never tweeting about your health issues, but chances are excellent that the websites you frequently visit already have all the information marketers need to know about you. This is part of how targeted advertising continues to be among the most frightening inventions on the Internet.
How: By blocking advertising and the information they gather with a browser extension like uBlock Origin. Additionally, the uBlock Origin plugin stops malware from operating in your browser and provides you with a simple method to turn off ad blocking when you wish to support websites you are confident are safe. Ads won’t follow you around as much if you combine uBlock with Privacy Badger, which disables trackers. Disable interest-based advertisements from Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter to cut down stalker ads even further. Many websites have ways to decline data gathering, but you must do it manually. For popular websites like Netflix, Reddit, and others, Simple Opt Out provides direct links to opt-out information. While doing this will greatly reduce the quantity of data gathered, it won’t totally solve the issue.
Install the HTTPS Everywhere addon as well. When a site supports it, HTTPS Everywhere automatically reroutes you to the secure version of the site, making it more difficult for an attacker to track your online activity, especially if you’re using a public Wi-Fi network like a coffee shop, airport, or hotel.
A virtual private network (VPN) may be used by some, but not everyone will need one. A VPN is helpful if you frequently use public WiFi since it increases the security of your browsing when HTTPS isn’t available. It can also assist reduce tracking based on your IP address and offer some privacy from your Internet service provider. However, as the VPN provider’s servers still handle all of your Internet traffic, by utilizing one you are choose to put your trust in it rather than your ISP to not keep or sell your data. If you want a VPN, Wirecutter suggests IVPN, but first make sure you understand the advantages and disadvantages.
Why? Viruses still exist, despite the fact that they may not seem as common as they did ten years ago. On your computer, malicious software can do all sorts of damage, from obtrusive pop-up ads to covert bitcoin mining to personal data scanning. Installing antivirus software is worthwhile, especially on Windows PCs, if you’re prone to opening dangerous links or if you share a computer with others in your home.
Most Mac users are comfortable with the security features built into macOS, especially if you only download apps from Apple’s App Store and limit your usage of reputable browser add-ons. There is also a Mac version of Malwarebytes Premium if you do want an additional degree of security. On your phone, you should strictly avoid antivirus programs and only download reputable apps from authorized marketplaces.