Seeing as how the global technological climate keeps surging through its next evolutionary stage, it is unsurprising that people are employing technology now more than at any point previously. Furthermore, we incorporate divergent devices across a majority of our everyday activities. Working at the office? You are probably surrounded by computers, tablets, smartphones and all kinds of other smart gadgets. Stuck at home? You most certainly own a handful of smart devices around your living area, which you can control using nothing more but your voice.
Technology is all around us. However, technology relies on data in order to not only function but also improve. User experience is becoming more prominent in every technological aspect and companies are striving to create both physical and virtual products that aim to deliver the best possible experience and quality. This, consequently, requires a substantial amount of consumer and customer data that reflects how users perceive, operate and utilize a given product.
Because of this, companies constantly collect data and strive to make further improvements based on the data itself and the feedback they receive. However, this also happens to be the convenient backdoor that individuals with malicious intents also use to gain unrestricted access to your personal and private information. Due to this, there are currently more privacy-related issues being reported than ever before, which poses the question ‘How can I protect my privacy?’.
How can we define ‘privacy’?
Privacy in its simplest definition refers to any information that when traced can be linked to you personally. This includes your name, address, bank account, even the pictures on your phone amongst many other types of personal information and data that should not be available publicly. While privacy does often get confused with ‘security’, it is important to be aware that they are two separate concepts that can exist independently from each other and they are only interchangeable in some very rare scenarios.
How can I protect my privacy?
This is a question that an increasing amount of people are starting to pose worldwide. As mentioned previously, the incredible number of new technological innovations that we as a society have access to, means that an substantially increasing amount of data is collected constantly throughout each and every single day.
This can consequently result in more information leaks and its potential exposure to people with malicious intents. Luckily, there are a number of tricks and applications that you can utilize in order to minimize the chances of such events occurring.
Share less information about yourself publicly
First and foremost, if you want to maintain your privacy you need to willingly provide less private information about yourself in the public domain. To put this in simple words – do not post sensitive or exploitable information about yourself on the Web, especially social media.
Social media platforms are like an ocean, composed of personal information. Such platforms are like a gold mine for a hacker or other individuals that aim to steal your data. Moreover, social media is often the place where the most staggering number of identity theft cases can be observed.
Turn off location tracking
Many devices and applications currently collect data about your geographical position throughout the day. This, consequently, generates positional patterns, which contain information about your everyday travel routine and lifestyle including potential running/jogging locations, transport routes and places you regularly visit.
These are all examples of data, which can be easily exploited if it happens to fall into the wrong hands. Furthermore, if you are using smartwatches or phone applications that generate heatmaps of your movement throughout the day or track other different characteristics, ensure that all of that data is stored somewhere securely in order to avoid potential leaks.
Use a VPN when browsing the Web
Surfing the Internet can also be potentially dangerous especially if you are connected to a public WiFi network. Using a virtual private network, abbreviated as a VPN, can help protect you and your data from potential man-in-the-middle attacks that most commonly occur through these networks.
A VPN works by encrypting your connection, data and browsing history, converting them into a special sequence of characters that a hacker would have a hard time deciphering. Additionally, a virtual private network also allows you to alter your geographical location, which is also very useful to deceive both hackers and potentially harmful websites.
Paying with cryptocurrencies
Over the last decade there has been a major upsurge in terms of prominence of cryptocurrencies and their value. Many companies have hopped onto this trend and have begun to not only accept but also support payments made with crypto. Because of the gained anonymity in terms of the conducted transactions, combined with the fact that information for every transfer is stored into the blockchain, cryptocurrencies are beginning to make a very strong and relative statement on the market as an alternative payment method.
For example, hosting providers like VPSBG offer their customers the ability to pay for their servers using both Bitcoin and Litecoin as such alternative methods. Furthemore, this practice is also being adopted not only by service providers but also by different physical item exchange companies and businesses globally.
Can I fully protect my privacy?
Simply put, the answer is no. Due to the incredible amount of different technological devices combined with the constant updates of divergent applications and the progressively faster learning processes of artificial intelligence algorithms, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to remain completely private.
However, what you can do is to try and minimize the amount of information you share publicly and restrict access to some data-collecting services inside of the apps you regularly use. While these actions will not completely maintain your privacy, they will significantly lower the risk of you becoming a target for people with malicious intents and hackers.