As we live more of our lives online, privacy concerns are inevitable. It is incredibly easy for anyone’s personal information to end up online, and in fact, we put a great deal of it there ourselves without even thinking about the possible consequences. Many apps, sites, and online features require some compromises in personal privacy in order to use the services at all.
So how is the average internet user to balance using the technologies available and protect their privacy, both on and offline? Today, we have three basic tips anyone can use to beef up their privacy protections and safeguard their online anonymity.
Our three biggest tips involve both technological and behavioral changes you can make to protect yourself online. Securing your accounts and making intelligent decisions around how you use the internet are the first crucial steps you can take to maintain basic cybersecurity.
1. Use Best Password Practices
If you want to safeguard your online privacy, keep your accounts secure. The best way to secure your accounts is with a secure password. Follow these tips to create a strong password:
- Use a mix of characters, numbers, and symbols
- Avoid using the same passwords on multiple platforms
- Opt for complex passwords
- Avoid obvious or easy to guess passwords
- Use mnemonics or random letters to develop a unique password
- Consider using a long passphrase, when possible
- Choose different passwords for each account
To remember your secure passwords, you can write them down in a secure location or use password management apps or software. These programs store your passwords so you can follow best practices without sacrificing security or convenience.
2. Mind Your Browsing
The way we navigate the internet can give away a lot of information we don’t intend to share. The search engine you use can directly affect your online privacy.
One way to protect yourself is to use “Incognito Mode,” which does not log your browser history. Once you close the tab, the information disappears. This method protects your privacy on the network and among those you share devices with. The most common browsers each have a private browsing feature.
3. Be Smart With Social Media
Smart, in this case, means selective. Too often, internet users give away far more personal information than is necessary, particularly on social media. The reality is that your social media habits can directly compromise your privacy. In fact, most of the information online about us is the information we give away ourselves in the form of sharing, “Checking In” to physical locations, and of course, oversharing sensitive personal details.
Oversharing personal information on social media can make you vulnerable to cybercriminals after your identity. There have even been cases of social media users having their homes robbed after announcing their vacation in real-time, notifying criminals they would not be home. The clear solution to this problem is to be extremely careful about what you share on social media. You may also familiarize yourself with the privacy settings for your account, and confine your circle only to those you know in real life.