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With more people working, shopping, studying, and completing other daily tasks online, privacy and security have become more important than ever before. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that many people have become complacent in protecting themselves online and thinking carefully before they act on websites and apps.
Without knowing how to protect your online privacy and security, you risk more than just receiving annoying spam emails or getting strange popups. Hackers can steal your data or even cause your gadgets to not work properly.
Use these seven online security tips to protect yourself.
1. Use More Secure Login Methods
If you still use a simple password for websites and apps, then you put your online privacy and security at risk easily. Instead, you need to use complex passwords and possibly take advantage of a password manager program so you don’t forget them.
Don’t stop at passwords, though. One of the best cybersecurity tips is to enable a secondary authentication method such as getting an access code sent to your email or phone. For mobile apps, your phone may let you securely log in with an image of your face or your fingerprint.
Just remember to have some backup method enabled in case you lose access to your device or email account. Sometimes, the website or app will give you a one-time security backup code you can use in an emergency.
2. Watch What You Click and Install
If you wonder how to stay secure online when browsing websites and app stores, keep in mind that anything you click or download could be a danger. Unfortunately, scammers sometimes make websites that look like famous ones or upload malicious apps that masquerade as popular games.
Before you click a link, log in to something, or download an app, stop for a minute. Check if the web address looks right or find out who the publisher is. Read any fine print on the page and research the site or app online to see what others say.
If in doubt, just don’t use the website or app. You might think you’re missing out on something cool, but you might really just save yourself privacy and security issues by staying away.
3. Use Online Security Software
Whether you use the web through a computer or mobile device, installing security software is one of the best online privacy tips to try. Generally, you’ll want software that blocks viruses, removes annoying ads, and prevents hackers from connecting to your device.
If you’re looking for a good program, AdGuard for Mac gets rid of problematic ads and offers more security and privacy tools. For example, it can keep other websites from scamming and tracking you online.
Online security programs can even help detect fake websites and apps before you do anything that gets yourself in trouble. So, try researching all the options available for your device.
4. Keep Current Data Backups
When thinking of how to stay safe online, you may not think immediately about backing up your data. However, this step plays an important role in online security and privacy since it can help you recover from an incident should it occur.
You never know when you’ll lose important data. For example, a virus could keep you from using your device entirely or delete important files. Your gadget could also break and need replaced.
With frequent data backups to the cloud or another storage device, you can get your data back quickly and maybe even restore your whole device if needed.
5. Secure Your Social Media Profiles
When looking into how to protect your privacy online, don’t forget about your social media profiles on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. These sites often contain sensitive information such as your name, location, employers, and personal and professional connections.
You’ll want to check your privacy settings and minimize the audience that can see your posts and information. If it’s set to public, this raises a risk. So, you’ll want to limit private information to only your close contacts or at least just people you’ve added as friends.
At the same time, look for options to provide for a more secure login through two-factor authentication as well as recovery options in case you get hacked.
6. Try Private Web Browsing
When you use your computer or mobile web browser the traditional way, it usually keeps data about you and your activities. For example, this includes a history of places you’ve visited online, log-in details, and other preferences and private data.
While this can make browsing the web easier for you, it presents online privacy and security risks when someone else uses the same device. After all, they could possibly get into your accounts and see all your activities.
Luckily, major web browsers have a private browsing option that doesn’t save any of these activities. You’ll especially want to use this feature whenever you do work on a public or shared computer. Otherwise, be sure to delete your browsing history and data occasionally.
7. Only Use Secure Networks
While you may focus on the devices you use and the things you download or view online, don’t forget about your actual internet connection. You’ll want to make sure you’ve taken steps to secure your home connection as well as use other networks safely.
You can start by securing your home router with a good password and changing your privacy settings. Also, turn the firewall on your router as well as your computers.
When using networks at cafes, libraries, and other places, be careful when connecting. Some public networks don’t have good security, so a person nearby could sneak and see what people are doing on it. Using a virtual private network (VPN) can be a good move on such networks.
Take Action for Better Online Privacy and Security
You have endless ways to improve your online privacy and security, but these seven ideas will give you a good start. However, consider learning more about online security risks to educate yourself and be more aware of how hackers steal data and mislead people.
Security and privacy analyzer apps and websites can also help provide a good picture of your current situation and suggest moves that keep you safer. Your mobile or desktop operating system may also have built-in security tools worth checking out.
Our blog has more cybersecurity tips to check out, so go read our other posts to continue learning to protect yourself.