It’s the digital age and how much have we really learnt from it? The world is bound by the digital chain, spending countless of hours on the internet a day. From streaming the best movies, to downloading songs from various apps, entering gaming portals, or making countless of videos to upload on TikTok – the internet is your oyster.
Even though the internet and social media can be all fun and games, have you ever stopped to think whether it’s safe? Most of us blindly follow all the latest trends, post our entire lives on the internet, flashing personal details for the world to see.
You think you can, because your profile is on private? Well…think again!
When you submit to the depths of the internet or social media platforms in general, this means you’ve also managed to hand in your online privacy privileges along with that. You may not believe this to be true, but every social media platform you are a part of, can easily be hacked and infiltrated.
These hackers can take over your accounts, sell your data, or hold your accounts as ransom for money. There’s just no such thing as privacy over the internet. Even though you live within a country that allows online freedom, you’re still being monitored or tracked.
Okay…so that means nothing can be done about it, right?
That’s where you’re wrong. A lot can be done by yourself, to not completely eliminate privacy breaches, but to slow down the process, to make things a little more private for you in the long haul.
Tips to improve your internet privacy
Even though there’s not a wide variety of options for you to choose from, these little tips can help in major ways. It’ll change the way you spend your time on social media and allow you to grow and grasp knowledge on how to stay cyber-safe.
Here’s what you can do:
Use a security software
As I mentioned above, social media can be all fun and games, but you have no idea what’s lurking on the other side of the screen. Always get acquainted or invested with top of the line security software.
There’s quite a huge range to look into. The most important investments should be made towards a VPN, an anti-virus and an anti-spyware.
These aren’t extra expenses. Think of it as the ultimate solution to jet start the online privacy you deserve.
For instance, if you’re living within a country that has the biggest surveillance laws, it automatically puts your privacy at risk. Not only that, your ISP is probably spying on every website or platform you enter.
Using a VPN can help keep you anonymous, and add extra perks to your activities. For instance, you’ll be able to access multiple blocked platforms and that too with full privacy. An anti-virus for the regular malware and virus sweeps through your device and an anti-spyware to detect and kill spyware malware that may have infiltrated your device.
Update your security software
Installing a software for privacy isn’t going to work itself. There will always be regular updates to ensure that the app you use is stronger than before. Always check regularly for updates because old versions of software are prone to vulnerabilities.
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A little off topic, but since we’re talking about updating apps, did you read about the WhatsApp bug that went around hacking into multiple WhatsApp user accounts? The apps that weren’t updated or were running on older versions were much easier to hack into as compared to the apps that were updated with the latest security support.
A regular software update can aid you in a very big way, and yes it ultimately leads to securing a private and safe internet experience.
Privacy doesn’t only revolve around hiding from various ISP’s or surveillance bodies. It requires steps and measures to lead you to that path. You manage tons of social media accounts and you probably have the same or unsecure passwords for all of them. Using the same codes on all your accounts immediately puts all your other accounts at risk.
And, if your accounts are at risk of getting hacked, how does that not affect your privacy?
They’re two different topics that lead to the same goal. Passwords play an important role and since it’s one of the few circumstances that you can control, then get right down to it! You should create strong passwords. These kind of codes don’t involve the name of your pet or your favorite aunt. You’ve put so much information online that it wouldn’t really be difficult to hack all the codes.
Your password should be different on all accounts and write or store it where only you can have access to them. Also, use upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. If you like, there are great password generator apps that can help with it.
Up-to-date privacy settings
I recently happened to head into Facebook’s privacy settings. I found that it stores multiple websites and apps that I looked up in the past; platforms that weren’t even relevant to Facebook. Social media has its ways of controlling the public, making us so flustered that we often forget about going through all its privacy settings.
Not only apps, also go through the settings on the devices you use. Make sure that your IP, DNS or WebRTC aren’t leaking or exposed. Go through the settings, give it a clean sweep and get rid of any old downloads or apps that may still be running on your device. They might come with bugs, especially since you forgot about them, and didn’t update the version.
If you want maximum privacy you have to look for double the security. A part of maintaining privacy over the internet, you need to protect your social accounts from any kind of intruders. Back in 2015, around 160,000 Facebook accounts were hacked into. So if you think yours is safe, think again. It can happen to anyone anywhere and at any time.
Double-factor authentication is important, just as important as a strong password. If the password you use is a weak one, and hacker try to get into your accounts, at least you’ll be a little secured with two-factor authentication.
When anyone makes an attempt to hack into your device, media accounts or bank accounts, you’ll be immediately notified. A message will be sent on either your phone or email, verifying whether it was you who requested a password change or whether a different device was used for it.
Choose your storage apps wisely
Now, I understand it’s not likely for us to remember each and every password we set for the multiple social media accounts we use. However, that doesn’t mean you start storing loads of that private information on platforms that are public.
For instance, you might’ve made a Google doc file and saved all your passwords on it. Do you have any idea how many people can gain access to it? If ever you’re saving passwords or sensitive files, always transfer on to an HDD or any other drive that’s only within your reach. Not even the Cloud or Dropbox is safe.
Communication apps with end-to-end encryption
If ever you’re going to have a private or sensitive conversation, please choose apps like WhatsApp to make that happen. Don’t over share on social media chats. Just because you happen to delete one copy of the messages from your end doesn’t mean it’s deleted from everywhere else.
Apps like Facebook messenger, Snapchat, Instagram etc. are not encrypted. If ever your accounts get hacked, you’ll lose all the online privacy along with that. The hackers will now have access to all your files on your media accounts.
The internet can help you get through life with maximum entertainment, but always remember that your privacy matter more. Never compromise on that. Just because one group is willing to over share information online doesn’t make it trendy or cool. Privacy is cooler. Let’s grow with that.