7 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy

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We live in a world where our every move is monitored. From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed, there are countless ways that our privacy is violated.

We are constantly being watched and tracked through our phones, computers, or credit cards. But there are ways to protect your online privacy and keep your personal life private. Here are seven tips for doing just that.

Delete unused apps from your phone

The idea of deleting some apps from your phone to protect your online security is good, but it is not as easy as it sounds.

7 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy

To free up space on your phone, you may have to do more than just hit the "delete" button; remnants of the app may still be in your phone, which could make it vulnerable to spying.

You want to pay close attention to messenger apps. If you have messenger apps on your phone then you also have a way for unauthorized individuals to read personal information and personal conversations you have had.

Often these messenger apps are a way for criminals to reach their friends and family. They can go through your messenger and then send messages to everyone on your contact list.

It's also important to keep your phone free of preloaded apps that you're not using. These apps are called bloatware and are often locked into your device by the manufacturer.

Disable "smart features & personalization" in Google Apps

Google is now introducing new settings for Gmail to protect your online privacy. Users can now turn off smart features and personalization, such as automatic email filtering and smart replying.

Disabling these settings will not affect your Gmail functionality but will have an impact on how Google analyzes your email traffic. You can also turn off the ability of Google to extract event details and restaurant reservations displayed in maps.

The default settings for Gmail allow you to enable tracking prevention and disable "smart features and personalization."

You can also take extra steps to protect your online privacy. By disabling these features, Google will no longer assign priorities and categories to your emails and will not track your activities on your computer.

Enable SSL everywhere

Enabling HTTPS everywhere is an easy way to protect your online privacy. It is available in the Chrome extension settings menu

Enable SSL everywhere

The browser automatically connects to HTTPS versions of sites when it is available. The Electronic Frontier Foundation created this feature (EFF) a nonprofit that defends the right to digital privacy and free speech.

With the growing threat of cybersecurity, keeping up with changes is more important than ever.

For example, the EU's General Data Protection Regulation requires companies to take reasonable steps to protect customers' personal information.

This means that companies should encrypt the information customers provide so that unauthorized parties can't read it.

In addition to SSL encryption, free Let's Encrypt certificates have become a common way for fraudsters to protect their online identities.

Conduct a 'free people search' on yourself periodically

By running a free people search on yourself from time to time, you can catch anything that might have been missed. This is especially important if you've recently moved or changed your name.

A free people search is a no-charge, no credit card needed search site that will bring up the information readily available according to your name

The information may include phone numbers, residential addresses, or even people you are likely to be related to.

These searches will not give you great detail but they can alert you if anyone is possibly using your name at a phone number or address that is not your own. You can keep track of what addresses are being connected to your accounts.

You can do a free people search by going to Google and typing in your name followed by "people search." Then, if you find something suspicious, you can do a reverse image search to see if the same image is being used elsewhere.

Use a VPN

One of the best ways to protect your online privacy is to use a VPN. A VPN encrypts your data before it passes through the internet, so no one else can see it, including hackers, government agencies, and businesses

There are a number of things to take into account when selecting a VPN service, such as the name of the company, encryption demands, server regions, and speed. Additionally, it's crucial to pick a service that works with a variety of hardware so you can protect all of your internet-connected devices with just one membership. This ability to use a VPN across multiple devices is crucial as remote jobs and online schooling become more commonplace. Because of this, it's crucial to select a VPN service that provides the best VPN for multiple devices assistance in addition to all the other features that are important to you.

Use a VPN

It's also important to choose a VPN that is located in your country. Otherwise, you might violate your country's content service agreements by using the internet in another country.

Using a VPN is especially important for those who need to use the internet to log into online banking or pay their credit card bill.

In addition, you'll want to avoid logging into public Wi-Fi, which can expose your browsing habits and personal information.

Avoid sharing payment details with eCommerce sites

One of the biggest challenges for eCommerce sites today is ensuring that consumer privacy is protected.

Although most sites are not interested in actively profiling and discovering their users' details, they collect a significant amount of personally identifiable information. This can bring with it a large liability risk.

Even if the eCommerce site you use does not take your identity they may sell your information to other sites.

The selling of information gathered on clients is a common business practice. It is how your name gets on all of those mailing lists after you purchase just one item.

Consider using third-party pay like PayPal when you are shopping online. When you use a third-party pay then you give your information to one site and they pay the other sites.

You can also get a prepaid credit card and use that card to pay for things you purchase or order online.

By doing this your private banking and main account numbers are protected so even if someone steals the information they will not have access to your entire accounts.

Do not share personal information with anyone, even if you think they are your friend.

Criminals can and will break into the contacts of one person and then try to scam their friends into clicking on links they send to them or asking their friends to send them money.

If a friend suddenly does something you have never seen them do before check with them before you do anything rash.

Avoid storing passwords in your browser

If you're concerned about your online privacy, don't store your passwords in your browser. The browsers that save your passwords have varying degrees of security encryption.

Avoid storing passwords in your browser

For example, Google Chrome uses AES encryption to protect your passwords. But this encryption isn't foolproof, and it's possible that an unauthorized person could access your browser's password storage, revealing all of your passwords.

While browsers may be convenient, they also leave you vulnerable to attacks. One such attack uses compromised passwords to get into accounts.

Passwords are stored in browsers so they can be automatically entered on websites. This vulnerability is called "credential stuffing."

When you are choosing a password remember to never use the names of your pets, the names of your children, your home phone number, or any of your personal information. You want passwords that other people cannot guess.

Most people do not realize that on their social media sites they often reveal private details of their lives like the name of their first pet.

Often people play games on social media that have them answer questions like what was your mother’s maiden name, what school did you attend, and what street did you live on when you were young.

With the answers to these questions identity, thieves can often guess your passwords to accounts because most people are creatures of habit and use information like their dogs’ names to make a password they can remember.

For the safest passwords buy a small spiral notebook and write down each of your passwords for each account.

Do not let your computer store the passwords because people can hack into computer systems but few people are likely to discover your notebook of passwords. 

These notebooks are also very handy for people when something happens to their computers because they have all of their passwords and can access all of their accounts. 

What is a passive footprint? It's the trail of data you leave behind unintentionally, just by going about your daily activities online. This can include things like your browsing history, location data, and even the devices you use. Even if you think you're being careful, these passive footprints can paint a detailed picture of your life, revealing your interests, habits, and even your physical location. By understanding what a passive footprint is and how it's collected, you can take steps to minimize it and protect your privacy.

Conclusion

Following these tips can help protect your online privacy and keep your personal information safe. Cybersecurity is a growing concern, and it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest threats

Remember to conduct a free people search on yourself periodically, use a VPN, and avoid sharing payment details with eCommerce sites.

Finally, and most importantly, don't store your passwords in your browser. Taking these precautions can help ensure that your personal information stays safe.

Remember to never open links that are sent to you in an email or a message if you do not know for certain who sent the link. When you click on a link of uncertain origins you open your phone and computer up to spyware, malware, and more. 

Do not fear using the internet, just be cautious, know who you are talking to, and do not share personal information with anyone

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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