Internet is both a friend and enemy – Let it be just a friend and protect your online privacy adequately

Digital Privacy data breaches
Digital Privacy data breaches

Do not panic, but your technology is tracking you. It may sound scary, but it is part of the cycle. You could not see those meaningful and helpful advertisements if there were no algorithms to collect your private information for this purpose.

We are using the Internet every single day, whether for work or personal purposes. Throughout time, it has become our friend we can always count on regardless of the uncertainty we might have or the time. But considering the more and more cyberattacks that have affected businesses and individuals alike, we have come to realise that the Internet could be a sort of enemy, too.

So, it is essential to be ahead of the Internet’s vulnerabilities and protect yourself from malware, ransomware, viruses, and phishing. Sure, you might think you are powerless in front of expert hackers, but learn these malicious actors use the same technology you can leverage, too, except they do so for a bad cause.

You can secure your online identity and devices so that they become unreachable to cyber criminals. And the best part is that this does not even take much energy. Here are some of the best measures you can take:

Install an antivirus and keep it updated

Quality antivirus is one of the most important measures against malware, including spyware. Such advanced software can stop malicious actors from remotely entering your system and compromising it by accessing your private and financial data and locating you. An antivirus can fight everything from Trojan horse programs to bots. The former, for example, appear as valid, trustworthy programs, but they are actually designed to steal your most precious data. On the other hand, bots transform your device into a soldier in a horrific zombie army, prepared to engage in spew spam, DDoS (distributed denial-of-service attack), or any kind of attack the bot herder orders. It might be scary to think about that, but do not get discouraged – you have plenty of solutions. Modern security software like Norton 360 can help fight viruses and many more threats. The latest security version, for example, provides an advanced VPN for cloud storage and anonymous surfing. And the best part? It is suitable for everything from Mac and iOS to Android and Windows.

Remember to update your antivirus regularly to benefit from the latest security advancements and be proficient in identifying threats beforehand.

Use a virtual private network

Any time you connect to the Internet using a public Wi-Fi network, you are exposed to all kinds of threats. That is why it is highly recommended to get a virtual private network (VPN) and use it whenever surfing the web in a public place such as a coffee shop or library. A VPN will make it hard, if not impossible, for hackers to access your private data, as you will have your Internet Protocol (IP) address masked and virtually undetectable. A VPN uses advanced encryption to hide your Internet traffic and direct it to a server owned by the VPN company. You have nothing to worry about, as no one, not even the owner of the public Wi-Fi network you are using, can nose around your information.

For maximum protection, it is advisable to pay for a service from a reputable provider like that guarantees no drawbacks regarding online security.

Use an encrypted app for messaging

You may not talk to the US president on Messenger, but this does not mean you can neglect your privacy on messaging apps. Since you live in the era of the text, it has become mandatory to secure the contents of your messages. The most successful way to do so is undoubtedly installing an end-to-end encryption app; hence, no one except you and your recipient can read the sent messages. WhatsApp, for example, is renowned for its encryption services, but there are many more apps that promise the exact same thing (and maybe more). Signal, Telegram, and iPhone’s iMessage prove their merit when it comes to encryption.

Nonetheless, WhatsApp and Signal only hide the contents of your messages – the metadata is still there. Unfortunately, one can learn a lot from this metadata, including whom you sent the message, where, and when you did it, so be sure you think twice before sharing your most precious information via text messages. iMessages also are secure only when sending texts to an iOS device – but not in the case of an Android mobile. Telegram is considered a sure-fire app to keep your messages away from curious eyes, but even so, it uses end-to-end encryption only in its “secret chat option”.

In other words, there is no magical app to hide your private data from a third party, so the best you can do is to be mindful of what you share online.

“Revamp” your passwords

The time of passwords consisting of your name followed by your birthdate has gone. Such passwords have never been efficient, actually. So, you need to think about unique, strong credentials, especially when valuable financial information is at stake. We recommend, thus, using a combination of characters, numbers, and letters that has nothing to do with you. It is important to understand that these keywords will be hackers’ first try when attempting to crack your account, so you have to be one step ahead of them. Also, consider creating a robust password for every account you have so as not to fall victim to multiple breaches – one is enough to lead to disaster! Prevent this domino effect by strengthening your passwords and passcodes.

As for devices equipped with biometric authentication like facial recognition or fingerprint scanning, ensure you opt for the “immediately” or “30 seconds” option.

Some extra tips to consider:

Double-check any suspect links

Browse in incognito or private mode

Delete some apps from your smartphone and opt for a browser instead

Commit to sharing less online

Use multi-factor authentication

Deactivate add personalisation