How to protect privacy and security online? The Internet is full of potential hazards. Hackers and cyber criminals are virtually around every corner. They try to get access to sensitive data. Many DDoS attacks have been launched using devices of unsuspecting online users. In this beginner’s guide, I will provide you with easy-to-implement steps to increase your online privacy and security. While this is by no means an expert guide, it is intended for those who don’t have the technical knowledge or means to turn their computers into fortresses.
Recent Online Privacy/Security Breaches
There have been several recent security breaches. Here’s a list of the ones that made the news.
- December 3rd, 2016: Botnet takes down millions of German routers.
- December 1st, 2016: Gooligan Malware Compromises millions of Google Accounts.
- November 30th, 2016: Thousands of UK National Lottery accounts are hacked.
- November 29th, 2016: UK Government passes Investigatory Powers Act 2016.
How Protect Privacy and Online Security?
There are several simple steps anybody can follow to add extra layers of privacy and security to their online activities.
Step 1: Install an Anti-Virus Program
It does not matter whether you’re using a Windows PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, or iPad. Installing anti-virus software is the first thing you have to do whenever you buy an new piece of equipment. All reliable anti-virus programs are free. You only need to pay for extra features that most households don’t really need. AVG, Avast, Norton, and McAfee are probably the best antivirus programs at the moment. Make sure to keep your antivirus software up-to-date at all times.
Step 2: Use a Login Password for Computer/Smartphone
This one is pretty obvious. Yet, there are some people who never set a password for their computers, laptops, or phone. However, what would happen if you actually lose your device, or worse, someone actually steals it. All your private info will be there for the taking. Don’t take a risk. Setup a strong password.
Step 3: Change Your Passwords
Changing your passwords periodically is another step anybody can implement. This applies to your router, banking account, social website accounts, email accounts, and your local computer/smartphone passwords.
- Use new passwords for your online accounts at least once a month.
- Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. If a cyber criminal hacks one of your accounts, they could potentially get access to all the rest as well.
- Don’t use easy to guess passwords either. You can get a strong passwords in seconds if you use a random password generator.
Step 4: Delete Social Accounts You Don’t Use
If you have social account you never really use any more, delete them. While these account might seem insignificant to you, they may contain useful info for potential hackers.
Step 5: Keep your Devices Updated
Install new updates on your Android, iPhone, iPad, PC, or Mac. These updates are one of the cornerstones of keeping your online security protected. In terms of Android devices, some old phones might not get new security patches any longer. Be extra careful when using such smartphones or tablets.
Step 6: Keep Your Browsers Updated
As with operating systems, it is equally important to update your browsers. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari are your main gate to the Internet world. The best thing to do is set your browser to update automatically.
Step 7: Encrypt Your Internet Traffic
In terms of protecting your online privacy, encrypting your Internet traffic is absolutely crucial. Your ISP, government agencies, copyright trolls, as well as hackers, all try to eavesdrop on what you are doing online. The best way to fully encrypt your Internet connection is by using a virtual private network. More commonly known as VPN, it basically redirects all your traffic via a secure server.
- You don’t need to be tech-savvy to setup a VPN connection.
- Sign up with a VPN provider.
- Download and install the VPN app on your PC, Mac, iOS, or Android device.
- Launch the application and connect to a VPN server.
- As long as you are connected to a VPN server, all your Internet traffic is encrypted.
- Using VPN also allows you to unblock websites your ISP has blocked.
- VPN can also be used to bypass geo-restrictions. In other words, you can watch American Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, BBC iPlayer, and many other channels by using a VPN connection.
- Use OpenVPN protocol where possible.
Make sure that whichever VPN provider you sign up with does not keep logs of your browsing activity. ExpressVPN is a good example in this case.
Beginner’s Guide to Protect Privacy and Online Security – Conclusion
In conclusion, all the steps listed above can be easily applied. You don’t need to be a tech guru to make sure your online security is well protected. Always take your privacy seriously and never underestimate potential online hazards.