Protecting privacy and personal data online is more than important these days. Protecting privacy means you can control what you share with others on the web, the things you access online, and the permission you grant others for remote access such as for freelancers or clients.
Protecting privacy online involves various methods, use of tools, and practices to ensure that your personal information remains secure and confidential.
Importance of data privacy
The importance of protecting your privacy while using digital platforms and devices is important due to many reasons such as:
- When you share personal information online, it can be collected, stored, and potentially misused by cybercriminals. This can lead to identity theft, fraud, and unauthorized access to your accounts.
- During online transactions, if your credit card/debit card, net banking, UPI id, and bank details fall into the wrong hands, it can results in unau can result in unauthorized purchases, fraudulent activities, and significant financial loss.
- Sharing personal information, including contact details or location, can make you more susceptible to cyberbullying, harassment, and unwanted communication.
- If someone gains unauthorized access to your accounts, they can potentially control your online presence, access your emails, social media profiles, and even manipulate your online interactions.
When you listen or see the news about internet-based scams you understand then we can understand and analyze the importance of protecting privacy online. Protecting your privacy online means freedom. You’re free from trackers, scammers, cyber criminals, surveillance, and AI manipulation. And you can use the internet and digital platforms with freedom and safety. Read More: What is internet safety and why is it important for you?
If any platform does not provide that freedom and option to choose privacy you must avoid using that. No matter how effective or popular that system is on the web. It can be a social media website or search engine. You must avoid using that with your original information or data.
14 Ways to protect your privacy online or while using technology devices and the internet
The word guarantee or 100% perfect solution for security or privacy doesn’t exist in the Technology world or field. No one or no company can guarantee that. But by following some best practices we can protect our privacy online.
1. Use a VPN for Encryption and Anonymity
VPN software is an application you can install on your device (such as a computer, smartphone, or tablet) or use as a browser extension to establish a secure connection to a VPN server. VPN software encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through the VPN server, providing you with privacy and security benefits.
VPN software is available for various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and more. You typically need to subscribe to a VPN service to use their software.
Using a reputable VPN (Virtual private network) to encrypt your online data, shielding it from potential hackers and cybercriminals. VPN software also masks your IP address, making it harder for websites and advertisers to track your online behavior. VPN makes you invisible online and encrypts every input and process.
2. Use Strong and Difficult to Guess Passwords
Create passwords that are a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using obvious choices like “123456” or “password.” Or pet names, date of birth, vehicle number, mobile number etc. Think of it like locking your home door with a combination only you know.
3. Double-Check Your Privacy Settings on Internet Browsers and social media
I think 70% of people even haven’t read the privacy policies and agreements when signup to digital platforms or when installing mobile apps. But take a moment to review your privacy settings. Make sure you’re comfortable with who can see your posts and personal information. It’s like making sure your curtains are closed to prevent anyone from peeking inside.
4. Do Not Share Personal Info Online with Strangers
Just like you wouldn’t tell your life story to someone you just met, be cautious about sharing personal info with people you don’t know well online. Your info is valuable, so keep it to yourself or share it only with trusted folks.
5. Keep Your Devices and Apps Updated
Install and update antivirus and anti-malware software on your devices. Updating software and apps on your mobile device or computer is crucial for security, bug fixes, and improved performance. Updates often include patches to protect against vulnerabilities, enhance functionality, and ensure compatibility with new features and technologies.
By keeping your software up to date, you not only enhance your device’s security but also ensure a smoother and more efficient user experience.
6. Don’t Click on Suspicious links
Be careful with the links or free downloading of Software (Especially from Unknown Publishers). Clicking on shady email, WhatsApp, sms links or downloading unknown software is like inviting a stranger into your home. Stick to trusted sources and links to keep your device and digital space safe. Please read this guide: 14 most effective methods to get rid of top 10 types of Internet Scams
7. If You’re Doing Important or Confidential Work, Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is like chatting loudly in a crowded place – others might overhear your conversation. If you’re working on something important or private, it’s better to use a secure network, just as you’d find a quiet spot to talk.
8. When Shopping Online, Make Sure the Website has https:// or a Green Padlock
Before entering sensitive information, like your credit card details, check if the website has a little green padlock or starts with “https://.” It’s like shopping at a store with good security cameras.
9. Don’t Share Your Real-Time Location with Unknowns
Sharing your location with unknown people online is like telling strangers where you live. Keep your location private, just as you wouldn’t give your address to someone you just met.
10. Remove or Do Not Install Apps That Want Too Much Personal Information Access from You
Some apps can be nosy and ask for more access than they need. It’s like a friend who wants to know all your secrets. Be choosy about the apps you allow into your digital world.
11. Educate Yourself and Learn the Basics of Computers and the Internet
Just like you’d learn how to drive a car before hitting the road, take some time to understand the basics of computers and the internet. It’ll help you navigate the online world safely.
12. Clear your browsing history and delete cookies
Clearing your browsing history and deleting cookies is important for maintaining your online privacy and managing your digital footprint.
Your browsing history contains a record of the websites you’ve visited and the searches you’ve made.
Clearing it ensures that others who might use the same device won’t see where you’ve been online. It’s like cleaning up after yourself so that no one else can read your diary.
13. Use 2 different browsers for business and personal work
Using two different browsers for business and personal work is a practical strategy to enhance your online privacy and organization. By keeping your work and personal data separate, you minimize cross-tracking by websites and advertisers, maintain a focused work environment, and prevent confusion in autofill suggestions.
This approach also promotes privacy, allowing you to concentrate on specific tasks without mixing personal and professional information. Additionally, it simplifies bookmarking, browsing history, and overall digital management, creating a clear distinction between your work-related and personal online activities.
14. Use disposable email for testing and signups to test demo versions
Setting up a separate, disposable email account dedicated to testing various digital tools is a clever strategy with multiple benefits. This approach provides you with a safe and controlled space to experiment and evaluate different tools without cluttering your main email inbox.
By using this rough email account, you shield your primary inbox from spam, promotional emails, and potential security risks associated with unfamiliar platforms. It also ensures a level of privacy by not disclosing your personal information for these testing purposes.
This practice streamlines your online organization, keeping your primary email focused on important communications while notifications and test results are directed to the disposable account.
Ultimately, using a rough email account enables efficient decision-making, allowing you to explore tools and technologies with a sense of confidence and clarity. It’s like having a dedicated playground where you can play, test, and learn without any worries.
So while using the internet on mobile or computer, prioritizing your online privacy is imperative. Using VPNs, strong passwords, clearing history, use of separate browsers as per purposes and cautious browsing help you stay safe and confident while using the internet in daily life or for business.
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