The internet allows people to make new connections, work remotely, entertain themselves with a never-ending stream of content, or read the news. In addition to that, the web is where marketing blooms, giving companies a platform to spread the word about their services. However, with such tempting benefits comes the constant tracking and surveillance from various entities.
The sad truth about it is that it happens even without you knowing it. People who value their privacy are usually stunned when they find out that they need to work a bit more to ensure that their data remains private. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your private and personal data. Doing it doesn’t require any technical knowledge. The following tips will help you keep your identity online safe, even if you do not consider yourself an expert at networking or computers.
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Stay Away from Public Wi-Fi Networks
If you value your sensitive data and privacy, you should avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi spots. These internet access points are very convenient to use. They are free and usually accessible in public places such as airports, restaurants, parks, etc. However, public Wi-Fi networks are unsecured. They are among the reasons why people suffer from identity thefts or other malicious attacks. Vicious parties can use these networks to hack into your device, whether it is laptops, smartphones, or tablets, and steal your data.
If you need to use the internet, always opt for the mobile internet instead. Most of the new smartphones have network tethering options so that you can share your mobile internet and use it on a laptop. Do it, and you will minimize the risk of having your information leaked.
Block Scripts on Websites
It may as a surprise come to you, but most websites gather a lot of information about their users. No, we are not talking about the forms that you willingly fill out. We’re talking about all those scripts that run in the background, collect your personal information, and monitor your online behavior.
These scripts start running the moment you enter a website. They can collect information, and you won’t notice a thing. Luckily, there is a really convenient workaround for this privacy intrusion. All major browsers support additional plugins. Go to a plugin market and look for script blockers. Once you install one of these, no script can run without you previously allowing it. Get ready to be stunned by the number of scripts that run in the background while enjoying your favorite content.
Consider Using Different Search Engines
If the internet is a huge data marketplace, search engines are goldmines of data. Every time you use your favorite mainstream search engine, you share your private data with the service provider. What if we told you that Google and Bing are not the only search engines you can use?
There are some search engines out there that have quite transparent privacy policies and data collection practices. DuckDuckGo, for instance, doesn’t collect users’ private data. If you switch to such a search engine, you will protect your private data and your browsing history.
If you are used to some of the popular search engines, there are ways to minimize the risk of your private data falling into the wrong hands. For instance, Google now offers several ways for users to control what they share with the company when using its services.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network, or a VPN, is an additional line of defense you can use to safeguard your online privacy. A VPN shields your online identity from being stolen by suspicious sources. It’s very easy to use it, and even a more wallet-friendly VPN can safeguard all your data transmissions and interactions.
A VPN works by encrypting your entire online traffic, thus rendering your data unusable even if it ends up somewhere you didn’t want. For instance, a VPN can help you remain protected even when connected to public Wi-Fi spots. VPN also hides your true IP address, making it impossible for anyone to locate where you live.
Don’t Open Suspicious Emails
Finally, spammers and cybercriminals often send emails containing malicious links. Clicking on one of them can have devastating consequences. They can access your private data, figure out who you are, or even take full control of your device.
The best way to protect against phishing attacks is to stop opening suspicious emails. It’s easy to recognize emails coming from people on your contact list and websites you’ve subscribed to. All other emails could go into the trash if the spam filter didn’t pick them up automatically.
All these tips will help you protect your online privacy and take control of your data. Make sure to consistently stick to these practices because as soon as you let your guard down, hackers will see it as an opportunity to strike.