Our digital lives have never been more active. Millions of people connect to the endless online space, explore news, play games, or shop for goods. Additionally, the number of people working remotely has never been higher. Some of them work from home, abroad while traveling, or pick other locations they feel comfortable at.
However, while we enjoy everything available to us, it is crucial not to forget security and privacy. Preserving these two aspects of our digital identity has never been more challenging. Data brokers are the entities continuously gathering insights about users’ activities and selling them for profit. Furthermore, hackers craft convincing scams to swindle interested buyers out of money or valuable personal data.
Luckily, while scams and data-harvesting practices have become more prevalent, there is a bright side. Users have the power to make a difference by following a list of coordinated steps.
Practice security hygiene
One of the critical things that you can do is practice security hygiene. It is not rocket science and can be practiced by everyone. You must incorporate some basic security models and implement zero trust strategies into your daily regime. The first one is using a strong password for all accounts.
A strong password is your first line of defense against cyberattacks. Setting passwords like 123456, qwerty, or password may be risky as they can be hacked in under 5 seconds. Therefore, using a long password (at least 12 characters) is ideal, including numbers, special symbols, small case letters, and title case letters.
2FA (two-factor authentication) is an innovative security concept introduced in the last decade. 2FA introduces an extra layer of security that requires the user to confirm that they are indeed the correct user. A text or a unique code is sent to the user’s phone for confirmation that they must enter after entering the password.
Installing the latest app updates is the third arrow in your quiver to practice security hygiene. Most of the makers release timely updates for the app. These updates are not just motivated by the addition of new features but also by security aspects. Many users report bugs or issues in the app, which leads to the deployment of app updates. Therefore, even if your app is working well, you need to update it with the latest security patches.
Shield your web browsing
Google, Amazon, Facebook, and countless other firms target you with ads. Ever wondered how they do it?
These tech giants tend to get all your available data and use technologies like AI and data analytics to devise valuable insights from it. Though the targeted ads are as per your interest, you can opt out of them. Additionally, you can prevent entities from selling data about your online activities and beyond.
As some of this information can also be used for marketing purposes by third parties, it is best to keep it off-limits or out of access. To ensure that your online browsing and other personal information are not visible to others, you can install add-blockers or Virtual Private Networks.
A browsing VPN is an effective way to obscure your online activity by masking your IP address. Once you download VPN services and connect to remote servers, your actions can no longer be traced to you through IP addresses. After all, dozens or thousands of VPN users can share the same IP addresses. Therefore, you become more anonymous online.
Besides preventing data access, you can also ensure the HTTPS at the beginning of the website. If the web address has HTTPS, the site is considered safe.
Check permissions of apps and browsers
When you are installing an app, it will show you a list of permissions that the app requires to function. For instance, if you are downloading a camera app, it will need permission to access your camera and microphone.
You should always read these permission requirements carefully and accept only those which make sense. If an app is asking for too many permissions which are not required for its functioning, it may be a sign that the app is up to no good.