Imagine our lives today without the Internet. It would be quite bleak and inconvenient. With seemingly endless potential, the Internet has become the go-to medium for basic yet important tasks. These include work and educational needs, shopping, managing your bank accounts, entertainment, storing your personal data on the cloud, and sharing your latest achievement on social media.
Investing in cryptocurrencies online is one of the latest trends that demand enhanced Internet Privacy. While people have taken little time to adapt and reap the benefits of convenience, cybercriminals have taken the time to further their own needs by stealing information for profit.
Large-scale corporations have been crippled by ransomware, and phishing attacks have managed to deceive thousands and steal their personal information. This list will discuss some common, seemingly harmless practices that can threaten your privacy online.
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Being casual about passwords
This situation has gotten better of late, and many websites will simply not allow you to choose a password that is potentially weak, i.e., short or composed of only letters or numbers.
Then again, weak passwords still remain one of the most common reasons for having your account’s Internet Privacy breached. One must absolutely refrain from choosing blatantly obvious examples that have anything to do with your personal credentials.
Even if you do come up with a good password on your own, never reuse it for multiple accounts. In the event one of them gets compromised, you stand to risk it all. Therefore, you must secure your passwords.
Remembering your passwords can seem like a chore, but you do need to make an effort to do so. Try logging into your account occasionally using your password instead of being logged in all the time or relying heavily on your password manager. Also, do not forget to set a secure password for your Wi-Fi.
Ignoring social media security
The rise of social media users has been meteoric in recent times. Unfortunately, though, a significant fraction of users actually bother reviewing their Internet Privacy and security settings. For example, as a casual user, it is better to make your social media accounts reveal your personal information as little as possible to strangers. – is especially true if you frequently upload your feed with real-time information such as your current whereabouts.
This is basically divulging potentially sensitive information, such as places you frequent or your daily schedule, to cybercriminals or local suspects such as burglars or stalkers who may use it to cause potential harm. So, do review your privacy settings for your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. If your child is on social media, do remind them never to accept friend requests from strangers or suspicious accounts. These are enough reasons why you should know how to protect your online privacy.
To secure your account further, enable two-factor authentication wherever possible. This will prevent access to your account from any unknown device, even if the correct password is provided; you will also be notified each time such a login attempt is made.
Using insecure internet
Using insecure public data connections can allow cybercriminals to steal your personal information. If possible, avoid using insecure public connections altogether. In case you do end up using one, avoid conducting any financial transactions or accessing sensitive information.
If you are in a public establishment, such as a restaurant or café, you can ask the staff to confirm if the Wi-Fi connection is authentic. Hackers can create fake Wi-Fi connections with legitimate-sounding names to monitor the data traffic of devices connected and steal personal information and login credentials.
Using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, can significantly reduce the Internet Privacy risks associated with insecure connections. A VPN is tasked with masking your digital footprint, which is your complete browsing activity. This allows you to anonymously browse the internet, which has two main benefits.
Preventing website trackers from collecting your data
Trackers are deployed by websites or third parties that collect and share your browsing preferences and activities online. This is usually harmless and can enhance your browsing experience by suggesting relevant content based on your previous search history. In the wrong hands, however, these can be used by cybercriminals to launch phishing attacks.
Once you divulge personal information such as your name, phone number, or email, these trackers will share this information with sister websites. If you are unfortunate enough, a hacker or scammer may end up with your information, which can be used to make scam phone calls to your number or send spam emails with malware attached.
Phishing emails are essentially scams where the links in the mail redirect to websites that are essentially fake but resemble well-known legitimate ones, such as Amazon, in order to scam you out of your money.
Preventing your ISP from throttling your data speed
Your Internet Service Provider may monitor your browsing patterns and throttle speeds on websites that consume more data. This can be a pain during peak hours, when you may face issues with streaming.
While money may be more valuable in terms of tangibility, information is invaluable, and cybercriminals have figured this out for a while now, reinventing methods to lure you into a trap to steal your personal credentials. Everything from your social media reputation to your financial assets is dependent on your online credentials, which is why the protection of Internet Privacy is an absolute must, and the first step is to eliminate simple habits that threaten it.