It's 2018, and your online privacy is in more danger than ever. Cybersecurity threats are becoming more frequent and more dangerous as hackers gain new, creative ways to attack their targets.
If you just stop for a second and think about it, you will probably realize that you have around a dozen different accounts on various websites, at least one of them being on social media and one related to your finances. This means there are tons of your personal information floating around the world wide web, only a few clicks away from malicious hackers.
That's not a very reassuring thought. So, we've compiled a list of ways to improve your online privacy in the next 5 minutes, so you can rest easy knowing all your private data is safe.
1. Protect Your Phone
Technology is progressing rapidly and smartphones are getting new impressive features every day. Now, you can get a phone that can only be unlocked with your finger or by using face recognition. But, however cool these features sound, they are still vulnerable. Criminals and even governments can easily bypass these lock technologies and get access to everything you store on there.
But a good old password still goes a long way when it comes to protecting your phone. This code is stored in your head and only the most advanced hacking technologies can get through that.
2. Minimize the Use of Gadgets
We all use a tremendous number of gadgets nowadays and we're so used to them that we believe we can't live without them. But then we get spoiled and start buying too many smart devices.
The problem arises when we connect all these devices to our smartphone, computer and Wi-Fi. That leaves us vulnerable because there many more weak points in our home where a security breach could happen.
So, think about whether you really need that many gadgets and then try to scale down.
3. Keep Your Apps Up to Date
Our apps are constantly asking to allow new updates and it can be a hassle. But, you might change your mind about updating your apps once you realize that every outdated piece of technology can be a security threat.
Software updates not only deliver new features but also fix potential security issues, which is why you shouldn't think twice next time Windows, Chrome, Adobe Flash or even Facebook ask for an update. It's only one click that potentially saves you a lot of trouble.
4. Revisit Privacy Settings on Your Social Media Accounts
Whether your poison is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or some other social network, the fact is that most of us can't live without our daily fix of social media. But, we are not even aware of the privacy vulnerabilities we expose ourselves to once we make an account.
Sure, you know that you're posting pictures and your thoughts daily for all your friends to see. But, do you also know all the ways these websites can abuse your personal information and everything else you post?
5. Mind Your Passwords
You've heard this a million times, but you probably always think "there's no way somebody would hack into my accounts." Well, newsflash, your private accounts are just as tempting to hackers as the biggest companies'.
In just a few clicks, your most personal information can be leaked, including your social security number and your credit card data.
This is why you need to carefully protect all your online accounts. Create strong passwords, come up with different passwords for different websites (however tedious that could be), and change them often. And make sure to use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
6. Log Out
The best password in the world won't help you much if you stay logged into your account and your computer is hacked. Or, if you're browsing on a public place.
This is especially important when it comes to any accounts dealing with finances. So, as soon as you're done checking your bank account or doing a transaction, log out of your account.
7. Avoid Spyware
Spyware is a kind of malware that attacks your computer and steals your private sensitive data. And the worst part is, in most cases you won't even notice it's happening, which means you need to know how to prevent it and how to recognize it.
First of all, you need an anti-spyware program installed on your device. Along with that, protect yourself by not clicking suspicious links, pop-ups and spam emails. And be careful when downloading free apps and media to your device.
8. Get a VPN
A reliable VPN service can save you a lot of headache and worry about whether your personal information is safe or not. A VPN encrypts your data, thus hiding all your online activity and protecting your identity.
Simply said, all your online activity goes through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and can be easily tracked and recorded. But, a VPN hides your IP address and masks your data through secure servers so that you can safely enjoy the Internet.
All It Takes Is 5 Minutes
Most of these safety measures will only take a few clicks and less than five minutes to do, and they will build up your cyber-walls and significantly boost your online privacy.
So, take five minutes off your day and go through this list again. We guarantee you will sleep much better knowing that your most precious data is safe.