8 Things To Remember When Protecting Your Privacy Online

Can you imagine a world without the internet, any more? Without instant access to all the information the human race has to offer with a few taps on the keyboard? Without the ability to keep up with friends and family at will, and to perform the mundane tasks of life such as paying your bills without having to go home first to do them?

The problem is that being able to do all these things and more also opens us up to some very serious potential problems. Every moment that you spend on the internet, particularly when those moments involve anything that shares information about you with other people publically, is a moment in which you are vulnerable to attacks from hackers, thieves and other cyber criminals. There are ways to protect yourself, of course, so we’ve compiled a list of tips to keep you protected and secure while online:

 1.    Pay Attention To Privacy Policies

Most websites have a privacy policy that you will be shown when you sign up for a particular service. It’s the bit where they ask you to agree to a very long piece of boring text that most of us avoid reading if we can. Sadly, when it comes to our privacy we can’t afford not to read these things – particularly the “opt in” or “opt out” boxes at the bottom that sometimes want to share our information with third parties for advertising or marketing purposes. It’s almost never a good idea to agree to that sort of sharing because you have no way to know who your data is being shared with, even if the company is reassuring about it.

 Privacy Online2.  Use Different Passwords On Every Site

A strong password is an incredibly important part of your online security, but it’s dangerous to rely on just one. Even the most secure password possible may one day be cracked by a hacker. If that hacker is only interested in sending out spam for porn sites through your Twitter account, it’s not necessarily a huge worry because you can just change it again. If it’s the password to all your bank accounts, you have a whole different problem: now they can access one, they can access them all. Use variations on a theme or entirely different passwords every time you sign up for something.

 3.   Avoid Giving Too Much Away

It’s amazing how little information an online identity thief actually needs to be able to start gathering enough knowledge about you to steal your identity. Sharing something on Facebook that seems totally innocuous can be a fatal error; even updating people on where you are, what you’ve just bought and where you currently work can give these thieves enough to get started.

 4.   Secure Your Online Transactions

If an e-commerce site is truly secure, its website will begin with “https” instead of “http.” This indicates it’s secure and is usually accompanied by a small image of a lock. Only ever use trusted e-commerce sites to buy things online and be aware that some of these companies know how to fake that lock and site address. If it seems fishy, go elsewhere.

 5.   Use Any And All Available Privacy Features

When using social media sites such as Facebook, it’s always a good idea to make sure that the only people able to see your sensitive information – even if that’s just that you’re currently on holiday in Corfu – are the people you’ve granted permission to. Many sites have lengthy privacy features available, so you’ll want to check through them all and read them carefully. On your browser itself, we also recommend disabling cookies.

6.   Know How To Spot A Scam

There aren’t many people left who haven’t seen and giggled at the email scam from the Nigerian prince who would like to give you millions of dollars if you’ll just hand over all your credit card details – but they’re not always that easy to spot. Watch out for any email that pretends to be from a financial institute and is asking for information you know your bank would never ask for, such as your PIN number. Any email you receive from someone you don’t know with an offer that’s too good to be true is almost certainly really too good to be true. Never open an attachment from an unknown person, and check email addresses if you’re not sure – if it’s not from an official email from a company, or it has the wrong country code ending, it’s probably not real.

 7.  Install Virus and Malware Software

Bad things can sometimes get past us, no matter how careful we are. Make sure that your computer is protected with the latest versions of your virus software and some strong malware detectors to be sure that a hacker hasn’t snuck an activity logger onto your machine and is watching everything you do.

 8.   Use a Virtual Private Network

True internet security can be found in a VPN, which encrypts every byte of your data as it travels back and forth across the internet and assigns you a new IP address to make sure your browsing is anonymous, which also means that your search engine can’t gather data on you while you’re not looking. There are very few things that can offer quite so much security for browsing as a VPN – if you only do one thing on this list, we’d recommend it be this one. Our experts have put together a list of the very best VPN providers out there to give you a head start:

Rank Provider Name Starting Price Money Back Guarantee
Visit Provider Site
ExpressVPN $6.67/month 30 Days visit expressvpn
2 IPVanish $10.00/month 7 Days visit ipvanish
3 Hidemyass $11.52/month 30 Days visit expressvpn
4 VyprVPN $10.00/month 7 Days visit vyprvpn
5 StrongVPN $21/ 3 months 7 Days visit strongvpn
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