DO YOU TAKE YOUR ONLINE PRIVACY SERIOUSLY?
Privacy Guides on how to protect your self online which Most people don’t know about. They have an ideal scenario of just how private their online activities should be, but they rarely do anything to actually achieve it.
The problem is that bad actors know and rely on this fact, and that’s why there’s been a steady rise in identity theft cases from 2013 to 2017. The victims of these cases often suffer a loss of reputation or financial woes.
If you take your online privacy seriously, follow this 10-step guide to protect it.
1. Beware of Internet Service Providers
You may not be aware of it, but your ISP already might know all about your online searches.
Each time you search for something online, your browser sends a query to a DNS server. Before the query reaches a DNS server, however, it first has to go through your ISP. Needless to say, your ISP easily can read and monitor these queries, which gives it a window into your online activity.
Not all ISPs monitor your browser queries but the ones that don’t are the exception and not the rule. Most ISPs will keep records of your Web browsing for a period of a few months to a year. Most ISPs don’t record your texts, but they do keep records of who texted you.
2. Strengthen and Protect Your Login Credentials
One thing most people take for granted is the login credentials they use to access their many online accounts. Your username and password are the only things keeping your information and privileges from getting into the wrong hands. This is why it’s important to make them as strong as possible.
3. Check the WiFi You’re Using
Have you ever heard of a KRACK attack? It’s a proof-of-concept cyberattack carried out by infiltrating your WiFi connection. The hacker then can steal information like browsing data, personal information, and even text message contents.
The problem is that not even WPA2 encryption can stop it. This is actually why The WiFi Alliance started development of WPA3, which it officially introducedthis summer.
Do you need WPA3 to defend against KRACK attacks? No. You just need to install security updates when they become available. This is because security updates ensure that a key is installed only once, thereby, preventing KRACK attacks. You can add additional layers of protection by visiting only HTTPS sites and by using a VPN.
4. Watch Your Browser
How do they do this?
Answer: Web cookies.
For the most part, Web cookies are harmless. They’re used to remember your online preferences like Web form entries and shopping cart contents. However, some cookies (third-party cookies) are made specifically to remain active even on websites they didn’t originate from. They also track your online behavior through the sites you visit and monitor what you click on.
5. Use a Private Search Engine
Presenting risks similar to popular browsers are the search engines many people use. Most browser companies also produce their own search engine, which — like the browser — also tracks your online searches. These searches then can be traced to your personal identity by linking them to your computer, account, or IP address.
6. Install a VPN
What is a VPN, and why do I strongly recommend it?
A VPN (virtual private network) is a type of software that protects your Internet browsing by encrypting your online data and hiding your true IP address.
Since you already know how online searches are carried out, you already know that browser queries are easily readable by your ISP — or anyone else, for that matter. This is because your online data is, by default, unencrypted. It’s made up of plain text contained in data packets.
You also already know that not even built-in WPA2 encryption is good enough to protect against certain attacks.
This is where a VPN comes in. The VPN courses your online data through secure tunnels until it gets to its intended DNS server. Anyone intercepting your browsing data will find unreadable jargon instead.
7. Watch Out for Phishing
You may have the best VPN, anonymous browser, and private search engine on the market, but they won’t do you much good if you’re hooked by a phishing scam.
Phishing employs psychological analysis and social engineering to trick users into clicking a malicious link. This malicious link can contain anything from viruses to cryptojackers.
8. Encrypt Your Communications
If you’ve been following tech news in the recent months, you may have found an item about the FBI wanting to break Facebook Messenger’s encryption. Say what you will about the social network giant, but this news reveals one thing: Even the FBI can’t crack encrypted messages without help.
This is why you should always use “encryption mode” in your messaging apps. Apps like Signal, Telegram, and Threema all come with end-to-end encryption and support for text, calls, and even video calls.
9. Watch What You Share on Social Media
Social media has become one of the best ways to keep in touch with important people in our lives. Catching up to everyone we care about is just a few clicks away. That said, we’re not the only ones looking at their profiles.
Hackers actually frequent social media sites as they hunt for any personal information they can steal. They even can circumvent your “friends only” information by adding you as a friend using a fake account. I don’t think I need to mention the problems hackers can cause once they’ve stolen your identity.
This is why you should exercise caution about what you share on social media. You never know if hackers are using the photos you share to target you for their next attack. You may want to skip out on filling out your profile completely. Avoid giving your phone or home number, and perhaps use a private email to sign up.
10. Update Early and Often
You may have heard this before but it’s worth repeating now: Don’t ignore system updates. You may not be aware of it, but updates fix many vulnerabilities that could jeopardize your online privacy.
Most people put off installing updates since they always seem to come at inopportune times. Sometimes we just can’t put up with the dip in performance or Internet speed while updates are being installed.
It’s usually best to suffer what minor inconvenience they cause early rather than risk getting caught in the whirlwind of problems hackers can cause if you should get targeted. Most software and apps now come with an auto-update feature, so you won’t have to manually search and download them.
Privacy is a human right, and our online privacy should be taken seriously. Don’t neglect to take the necessary steps to protect yours.
Beware of your Internet service provider, and always protect your login credentials no matter how strong they are. Remember to check the network you’re connecting to before you log in.
Watch what your browser and search engine are doing, and consider replacing them with more private ones. Prepare against phishing by learning to identify attempts and installing an antiphishing toolbar.
Always use encrypted messaging, and watch what you share on social media. Finally, never ignore system updates when they become available.
Follow these steps and you’ll soon be on your way to a more private browsing experience.