Digital privacy means the right to keep your information to yourself and enable sharing data only when you want to. It is getting more complex every day to have a private online life. But, it is not impossible. With these simple steps, you can ensure your privacy.
If you do not want your information to fall into the hands of strangers and enable sharing data only when you want to, keep that information to yourself. For example, sharing the geotagged location of where you are is something that can be kept hidden. Moreover, keep the pictures of your loved ones and intimate details about your life, secured. In addition to social media, whenever you download any app, it collects your data and it is not as careful with it as you would like it to be.
Every other month, a headline consists of privacy violation news by some app. For example, Facebook kept hundreds of millions of passwords in an employ-accessible folder and did not notice for SEVEN LONG YEARS!
You should also limit the collaborative associations between various apps. For example, collective photo albums should be kept to a minimum.
Sometimes the only thing between our accounts and the hacker is our password. So make sure that you use a strong password with lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Do not make your password any obvious detail about yourself like your birthday. Always put double authentication on your socials. That way, whenever a new device tries to log in you will get a message on your number.
If you use a fingerprint or face recognition on your device, the preferable setting is “immediately” or “thirty seconds” auto-lock.
Tighten Privacy Settings
Review the privacy settings of your accounts and tighten the security. Take care of the following things:
- Turn off the automatic location tracking option on all your social media and other apps.
- Carefully set which information you want to keep public and which you need to keep private and adjust the settings accordingly.
- Even when your account is private, you like, share and comment show on other people’s profiles. You might want to consider minimizing that.
Thorough Phone Cleanup
So many apps on our phones are not even being used. The apps just sit on our phones. But remember, your data is being shared with those apps, even when you are not using them. Do a thorough cleanup of your mobile phones and only keep the apps that you use regularly. Purge your phone of any unnecessary browser extensions as well, since they share your data too.
Unroll. me is an app that summarizes newsletters and subscriptions for the user. After a thorough search, it was found out that the app not only reads all the emails, it sells the contents.
Search Engine Tracking
The search engine is a critical requirement for all of us. 90 percent of people use Google as their search engine; it collects a huge amount of data on daily basis from your searches and activities online. To improve privacy, delete your data regularly. You can delete data on Google by going to “my activity dashboard”. For Microsoft, you need to purge Bing and Edge separately. It is impossible to remove all the data tracking from search engines. So, if you want maximum privacy, change your engines to the ones that provide better tracking privacy like DuckDuckGo.
VPN is a service that masks your geographical location. It is excellent for maintaining privacy. Download a good secure VPN and turn it on every time you browse through the internet searching for things. Have you ever noticed that when you search for something on Google, like a sweater or shoes, they also start appearing on your social apps? It is because the data is constantly being shared between the apps on your phone. Always use VPN to protect your activities.
You can change the browser to a more secure one like Tor which protects the IP address, history, and location across several layers. Another good option is Brave.
Vpn becomes a necessity, not to be taken lightly, especially when you use public wifi. For example, if you are sitting in a coffee shop and want to check your socials or send an important email, use VPN. You might be thinking that why bother with a VPN when you can use an incognito tab? The simple answer is that incognito tabs are not private and secure at all. The search engines and Wifi providers still collect all the data even though the history is not being stored in your device.
Whenever there is any update on your android or iOS, go through with it. The old software that has been around a while is more prone to be hacked and misused because its loopholes are discovered over time. Updating your phone to new software gives it privacy because the more recent the thing is, the less it is prone to be cracked. You can also download antivirus software to protect your devices from unnecessary third-party interference.
Even computer data, texts, and emails are not safe.
The passwords protect access to the computer but the cybercriminals know their way around it. They can use the hard drive and connect it to another device to access all data. To be safe, you should encrypt your Microsoft or Mac to make the data useless without a password.
Storing too much on the iCloud is also not a smart move. All the celebrity iCloud hacks would not have happened if the data was only on their useable devices. End-to-end encrypted apps like WhatsApp are the safest options for texting. You can protect your emails by disabling the “smart features and personalization” settings on Gmail.
Cybersecurity and privacy are no joke. In the past decade, cybercrimes have reached the level of physical crimes. The pandemic only made it worse. There was a 600 percent rise in cybercrime during the pandemic. On average, per year an organization faces 130 security breaches. The world we are living in has become connected to the molecular level and it is not always a positive thing. So, make sure that you are well-protected online.