5.9 hours a day. That is the amount of time that an average adult spends online every day. No matter how you spend your time online, chances are you are leaving bits of yourself all over the place. And while it does not happen often, you still risk being the victim of unscrupulous individuals who may use your information for nefarious activities.
Besides the need to avoid being targeted by such individuals, privacy is a basic need. You wouldn’t give your neighbors an all-access pass to your house. Similarly, your privacy online is essential as you do not want every Tom, Dick, and Harry knowing what goes in your life, especially regarding social media. The following are five simple ways you can use to enhance your online privacy.
1. Utilize Custom Private Web Browsers Instead of Private Browsing
A lot of people use the ‘private browsing’ mode to surf the internet. However, it is not all that. In fact, it only prevents the people using the same device from seeing what you were browsing. Your digital footprints, however, are still fair game to website owners, governments, data collection companies, and anyone with a bit of technical know-how. As such, the ‘private browsing’ mode won’t protect you from anyone who would want to target or harm you. This is why it is important to use a custom private web browser. These browsers are designed to ensure that it is almost impossible to track your activity online.
2. Have Strong and Unique Passwords for Your Online Accounts
Most people tend to use the same password for all their online accounts. While this is a good way of not getting locked out of your own account, it also poses the risk of getting hacked. For instance, if a hacker is able to breach one of your accounts, they will have a field day. To avoid this, have strong, unique, and different passwords for each online account. Additionally, utilize a password manager to help you keep track of the different passwords.
3. Limit Sharing on Social Media
Sharing informative articles is one thing; however, private stuff such as photos of your children is another. All social media channels have privacy settings that allow you to govern who can see your posts. Utilize those settings to avoid letting in other people into your personal life. Ensure that you apply the same settings in your children’s accounts as well.
4. Be Wary of Free Wi-Fi
While convenient, using free public Wi-Fi is among the best ways of getting yourself hacked. Public Wi-Fi is rarely, if ever, secure. This means that anyone with the right tools can eavesdrop on your online activity. Woe unto you if you decide to do a bank transaction while on public Wi-Fi. As such, if you must use free Wi-Fi, utilize a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your online activity so that anyone else on the same network cannot see what you are up to.
5. Terminate Unused Accounts
In our online ventures, one can end up having tens of accounts since most websites today require that you open an account with them to access some service. Chances are that you do not use up to 60 percent of those accounts.
However, they still contain your information, and if someone is hell-bent on getting you, these accounts are what might just give you away. Therefore, take your time and identify all your unused online accounts and shut them down. The less personal information you have online, the better.
As the internet continues to take center place in modern life, it presents unscrupulous individuals with a tempting opportunity to take advantage of people’s innocence. Naivety, however, can be costly. Utilize the above tips to secure your online presence.