Internet security

5 Ways You Can Boost Your Online Privacy

Looking for ways to boost your online privacy? Check out these tips!

The Internet is home to some shady people. The last few years witnessed plenty of destructive hacking and disinformation campaigns. How savvy are you about keeping yourself safe online? It’s your responsibility to think about the data you give away.

By making a couple of changes, you can maintain security against attempts to gain unauthorized access to your data. You don’t have to quit the Internet for the rest of your life. Instead, stay mindful and protect yourself and your information online. The best thing you can do is to be privacy savvy. 

Limit How Much Information You Share on Social Media 

Social media is a necessity in today’s times. You can stay connected with family and friends, share opinions and feedback, and stay updated with current news and events. Unfortunately, social media platforms don’t do a great job when it comes to protecting your personal information. A good way to protect your privacy online is to avoid oversharing. Scammers can find out a lot about you and use any piece of information you share. They can steal your identity or access your financial information. Social media has become a goldmine for malicious actors. 

person on phone

Oversharing is fueled by our insecurities. Simply put, we care too much about what others think and try to make up for what others judge us for. Be careful what you overshare online because it can come back to haunt you. If you’re involved in a personal injury case, for example, anything you share, especially pictures, can be used to question the seriousness of your injuries. Both public and private social media content are admissible in litigation. This is what evidence means to officials in the UK. As long as there’s no intrusion into your personal life, a line of enquiry is reasonable. 

Use A More Secure Search Engine to Boost Your Online Privacy

If you’re like everyone else, you use a browser because you like certain features or simply because you’re familiar with it. There’s no guarantee whatsoever that your web browser is secure. A search engine like Google helps you find your way around the web, but it collects a lot of data about you. Google knows as much as you allow it to and you can boost your online privacy by making changes.

It remembers your IP address, your search terms, what results you click on, and how many times you go back to the results page. Consider changing your default search engine so that surfing the web isn’t frustrating.

If you’re concerned about your data and tracking, switch to DuckDuckGo. You can use it without compromising your security. Not only does it have a clean and user-friendly interface, but also you won’t find any ads. DuckDuckGo gathers results from countless sources, including Bing, Yahoo, and Wikipedia. Browsers such as Mozilla now offer DuckDuckGo as a search engine. You can get all the search results you’re looking for without being tracked or traced. Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo doesn’t store your data. Every time you use the web browser, you get a blank search history. 

Use Strong, Unique Passwords and 2FA

Strong, unique passwords prevent unauthorized access to your electronic devices and online accounts. Exposing yourself to identity theft and extortion is a risk you should never take. If you have complicated, long passwords, you make it impossible for cybercriminals to crack them. Once you switch off your device or turn on your screen saver, ensure the device requires a password to log in. Don’t use the same password across several sites that hold sensitive data, don’t keep track of login credentials the old-fashioned way (i.e., pen and paper), and don’t share your passwords with anyone

Set up two-factor authentication for every account that allows you to. This way, you’re adding an extra security layer that protects you from hacking and data theft. Two-factor authentication works something like this. You log into the website/service using your username and password. If the password is correct, you become eligible for the second factor. The authentication service will send you a code to your device. You must confirm your identity by approving the additional authentication. It’s recommended to avoid text messages and use an authenticator app instead. It’s a convenient way to prove who you are. 

Be Extra Careful Where You Click 

When checking your emails or scrolling through social media, don’t click on just any links. If you click on the wrong link, you’ll end up losing money, personal data or become the victim of malware. Before clicking on a link, move the mouse pointer over the link to see the destination URL. It should accurately reflect where you’re being directed.

Hackers are behind false links. If you click on the fake link, they can infect your device. Threat actors create realistic-looking URLs to trick you into inputting your personal information. Do your homework to boost your online privacy. More exactly, look for misspellings, keep an eye out for extra words, and avoid buttons. 

Disable Ad and Data Tracking 

Most of your personal information collected online isn’t used for scams or data breaches. Actually, it’s used for marketing. Businesses contextualize the data and draw new insights from it. it’s almost impossible to prevent companies from tracking your behavior as you surf the web, but you can keep your personal data private. Disable ad and data tracking. It’s advisable not to blindly accept cookies. If you don’t say no, your browsing history can be sold to advertisers. Cookies are an integral part of how the Internet works, but you can stop them if that’s what you want. 

Equally important is to opt out of personalized ads on Google apps. As mentioned earlier, the search engine tracks every step you make online. The algorithm then uses the information to display relevant ads based on the data collected about your choices. On your computer, go to your Google account, click on the account icon, and select Manage your Google account. Select the Data & personalization tab and make sure Ad personalization is turned off. Google will confirm the new settings, but it might take some time for the changes to take effect. 

About the author

Jeff Peterson

Jeff is a tech geek whose hobby is to learn about the latest developments in the tech world. When he is not writing at you may find him coding or playing his favorite video games