If you’re reading this, then you’re probably already aware of the risks to your privacy when using social media, sharing personal information online, or even just browsing the internet. But did you know that there are certain things you could be doing that are putting your privacy at even greater risk?
Here are five things you need to stop doing if you want to keep your privacy intact:
1. Stop using public Wi-Fi
When you use public Wi-Fi, you are essentially broadcasting your presence and activities to anyone within range. This means that anyone with the right tools can see what you’re doing and even intercept the data you’re sending and receiving.
If you must use public Wi-Fi, be sure to use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your traffic and protect your privacy. Better yet, avoid public Wi-Fi altogether and use your mobile data instead.
2. Don’t click on links in email messages
Phishing scams are a common way for attackers to try to steal your personal information. They will send an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate source (e.g., your bank), but the link in the message will actually take you to a fake website designed to steal your login credentials.
Never click on a link in an email message unless you are absolutely sure it is safe. If you’re not sure, go to the website directly by typing the URL into your browser rather than clicking on the link.
3. Use strong passwords
Most people choose passwords that are easy to remember, which unfortunately also makes them easy to guess. If you want to keep your information safe, you need to use strong passwords that are difficult to crack.
Here are some tips for creating strong passwords:
- Use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
- Make your password at least 8 characters long. The longer the better!
- Avoid using easily guessed words like your name, birth date or favorite sports team.
- Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. If one account is compromised, all of your accounts are at risk.
- Consider using a secure password generator to help you keep track of all your different passwords. It will not only generate strong passwords for you but it will also remember those passwords. So, you just have to remember one password which you will use to access the password generator instead of remembering all.
4. Don’t overshare personal information
If you don’t want to risk your privacy, you need to be careful about the personal information you share online. While it’s perfectly fine to share some basic information about yourself, such as your name and contact details, you shouldn’t share more personal information than necessary.
For example, you shouldn’t share your date of birth, home address or financial information unless you’re absolutely sure that the site you’re sharing it with is trustworthy and that your information will be safe. If you want to prevent private data leaks then do not share more information than you should.
Similarly, you shouldn’t post personal photos or videos online unless you’re comfortable with them being seen by anyone. Once something is online, it can be very difficult to control who sees it and how it’s used, so think carefully before sharing anything that could be considered private or sensitive.
5. Keep your software up to date
One of the most important things you can do to protect your privacy is to keep your software up to date. That includes your operating system, web browser, apps, and plugins. Companies often release updates to patch security holes and vulnerabilities. By running the latest version, you’ll be protected against known threats.
If you don’t want to update your software manually, you can set most applications to update automatically.
6. Use a VPN
There are a lot of ways to protect your privacy onlineand one of the most effective is to use a VPN. A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that encrypts your data and routes it through a server in another location. This makes it difficult for anyone to snoop on your activities or track your location.
There are many VPN providers to choose from, but not all of them are created equal. Some VPNs keep extensive logs of their users’ activities, which defeats the purpose of using a VPN in the first place. Others may sell your data to third parties, or inject ads into your browsing sessions.
When choosing a VPN, make sure to research the provider carefully. Look for reviews from independent sources to get an idea of how reliable and trustworthy they are. And make sure to read the fine print before signing up — you don’t want to be surprised by hidden fees or limitations down the road. Always be vigilant when your private data is on the line. Once someone else gets a hold of it you never know what they will do with it.