11 Steps to Protect your Online Privacy

Protect Only Privacy
Click to download the graphic

Online Privacy is a critical component of your personal cybersecurity plan.  In previous posts I’ve highlighted how to secure your home wi-fi and how to recognize and avert phishing scams.  Now think on this…you already shred papers with personal information before it goes out with the weekly trash, but are you doing the same with your online privacy too?

Cyber criminals dumpster dive in the comfort of anonymity and stealth.  Your personal information and computing habits can be stitched together and sold on the Dark-Web and you can become a victim of fraud or physical danger. Good cybersecurity hygiene is mostly common sense but it requires that your practice and consider how sensitive data is.

Our friends at TheBestVPN take privacy very seriously. They created and shared this awesome infographic to the left with us outlining 11 actionable Steps to take to protect your privacy online (Click the image to download a full size image). TheBestVPN is a team of Virtual Private Network (VPN) and online privacy enthusiasts who have come together to bring you honest VPN reviews.

What’s a VPN? I’m glad you asked…

In simple terms, a VPN is an encrypted network “tunnel” to a trusted network gateway.  When active, a VPN protects the data from your computer or mobile device from being intercepted by hackers and culled for valuable information.

VPNs are common in commercial settings linking business locations to other locations, to banks, and to credit processing facilities.  For a home user a VPN could protect your logins, passwords, credit numbers, and other sensitive data. 

VPNs are a bit technical to setup for the average home user.  VPN server software does exist but will require some networking knowledge to configure your router and make your home network accessible from a remote location.  Most small biz and home VPNs are provided by a third party VPN hosting service.

That’s where TheBestVPN comes in. TheBestVPN provides you honest reviews to help you choose and decide what VPN service to use.  When traveling (especially overseas) I always use a VPN service to “phone home” to my trusted network.

What are the other 10 actionable items?

  1. Use Privacy or Incognito Mood
  2. Block Web Activity Trackers
  3. Use Ad Blockers
  4. Use Encrypted messaging Apps
  5. Get a VPN
  6. Don’t trust non-HTTPS with sensitive info
  7. Clear your browser’s cookies often
  8. Review your mobile app permissions
  9. Avoid Public WiFi
  10. Use a Virtual Machine
  11. Use a Private Search Engine

Download the graphic to read more!  A few items warrant a little bit of discussion, though…

2. Block Web Activity Trackers

In this era of “Big Data” you are the product that online companies sell.  Practically everything you do online is logged, parsed, collected and compiled into data sets that are sold to advertisers, media companies..practically anyone looking to sell you something!  Policy and Law has not kept pace with protecting your data.  Stay safe, set your web browser to block these trackers or install third party software

3. Use ad blockers

This one is a bit contentious. See, people create content for the Internet with an expectation to make money.  One way to do this is through online advertisements.  Patrons visiting a site support that site when they click through to (or even just see) an add posted on the website.  However, advertisements contain bits of code that can be used to track your shopping habits or recommend other ads to see at other websites.  Worse, hackers developed was to hijack these adds to implant malicious software on your computer when the advertisements loads.  Reputable advertisers actively defend against this threat; however, if you are feeling insecure go ahead and activate the Ad blocker in your browser..

 

9. Avoid Public WiFi

In general, yes. Don’t trust that Starbucks Wifi…that shady college kid in the corner could be trying to hack systems on that WiFi. But, if you do have a VPN provider, turn on the VPN and use that network to read the News while guzzling another Mocha.

Hopefully, these tips make you a little safer and more aware protecting your sensitive data. Thanks to the team at TheBestVPN for sharing this great infographic. Please like and share this article and leave your comments below on other ways to protect your online privacy.

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