Do you care about your privacy, but don’t know how to secure it? If you think you have nothing to hide or you don’t know the impact of online surveillance, then you might want to read this. There is a difference between privacy and secrecy. You close the door while you are in the bathroom, not because it is some sort of secrecy, but because you need some privacy. The article will go through some basic steps to secure your online privacy.
I have tried to make this article as simple as possible. The reason we should take our privacy seriously is that we need to protect ourselves as the more people know about us, the more control they have over our decisions. Your information in the wrong hand can be dangerous; your private photos and texts could be used to blackmail you.
Here are the basic steps to secure your online privacy.
These steps may protect you from any serious consequences in the future and remember these steps are some of the basics you should at least do to protect yourself.
Step 1: Secure your online account
One of the first steps to secure your online account whether it is a social site or an email account is using a strong password.When I ask my friend what type of password do they use then the majority of them answered they use a combination of their name and password which are easy to remember. And also the majority of people use the same password for different social sites and this is where they do wrong because if the password of one site is breached then all others are affected too. if you don’t know whether any of your passwords have ever been breached or hacked then a site like Have I Been Pwned can help you get that information. you can even check whether your email address has ever been breached on this site. If it has been ever breached, then refrain from using those passwords and emails in the future.
The breached password makes it easier for hackers to hack your account as hackers could use s brute force attack to crack your password.
To make your account even more secure then you can use “2-Factor Authentication” which basically adds an extra layer of security to the account. It simply adds an extra step to access your account that is you need your password and a temporary code, these codes are generally sent on mobile phone but you can set up password managers to receive it. I recommend using two-factor authentication at least for your personal email account if you don’t want to use it for everything.
Using a password manager will not only help you generate a strong password that is hard to crack but also make it easy for you to use a different password for every other online service you use, as those passwords are stored in the password manager.
Some of the best password managers are :
Step 2: Use a VPN service
VPN is something that has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years and a lot of people are using it. For those who don’t know what a VPN and what it’s used for, it is simply software that makes you a ghost on the internet whom nobody can see but can only feel its presence.
But why is VPN useful? Let’s assume you’re browsing the web through your mobile phone which has a unique IP address, kind of like your house’s address. From that IP address, you can be tracked down to your real physical address. And also when you browse the web, there are a lot of things more than your address that can be tracked down using your IP address.
The sites you are interacting with and your internet provider can easily track you and find out which sites you browse.
What VPN does is that it provides you with a temporary IP address and location while you surf the web making you completely anonymous.
Advantages of using a VPN service:
- VPN helps you browse the internet without revealing your identity and your location.
- VPN helps you keep your online data and information encrypted and secure.
- VPN helps you browse the sites which are blocked by your internet service provider or country
- VPN helps you experience the internet more open and secure.
You can even use a browser like Tor if you don’t want to spend money on a paid VPN service. Tor provides a free VPN service but it slows down your browsing speed.
Although there are many VPN services out there, we should be careful while choosing VPN services and we should keep a few things in mind while using :
- A VPN should be installed on ALL of your devices. (desktop, laptop, smartphone)
- A VPN service we should see whether they are fast and are not slowing down our internet speed.
- A VPN service should also NOT track and keep our browsing data.
Now here are a couple of VPN that you might like
- More than 5100 servers in different locations
- The company is located in Panama
- More than 100 servers in different locations
- Relatively cheaper than NordVPN.
Step 3: Use privacy-focused browsers
The first and most important place to secure your privacy online is using a browser that focuses on privacy. Privacy Focused Browser will make a big difference in your digital blueprint as most of your personal data can be pulled out from the browser you use. For example, information like how much time you spend on specific sites, sites which you frequently visit, the screen size and mobile phone used while browsing the internet, and all other sorts of data can be pulled out from non-privacy focused browser like Google Chrome.
So here are some of the best privacy-focused browser you can use to browse the internet anonymously.
- Epic web Browser
- Brave web browser
- DuckDuckGo search engine
You can get to know more about them from here Best Browsers For Private Web Browsing.
Step 4: Secure Apps for communication
The majority of people only use a few apps to connect with their friends and family. They use it for communication. The problem is that most of these texts and calls happen through services or networks that are famous for giving away user’s private information to 3rd party advertisers. We all know that services offered by Facebook or Google share our private thoughts & conversations on these networks. Generally, there is nothing wrong with this, as long as we’re aware that this is the case.
An app like Riot and Signal are some of the best highly privacy-focused app. Every message you send on theses services are encrypted and no one else can read 2 people’s conversation other than them.
I recommend using these apps to communicate with your friends and family. Unlike others, these apps are highly secure and do not sell your data or personal information with advertisers and other 3rd party companies.
I am not saying that you should completely abandon the current messenger you are using, but I highly recommend you to use these apps where you need an extra layer of privacy and security. For daily use, you can use your regular messenger.
Here are some quick basic steps to secure your online privacy: (Conclusion)
- Use a privacy-focused browser like Tor and while surfing the internet.
- Use a VPN service at least while using public wifi.
- Use 2-factor authentication for your private email and social site.
- Use a password manager for generating strong passwords and saving them.
- Use apps like Signal and Riot for private conversations.
Please do recommend and share this article with your friends and others who would like to take their privacy more seriously.