Hacker threats become more and more advanced, and security tools can’t really protect us from all of them. But the real issue is that we help malefactors scam us by performing seemingly innocent actions such as posting our photos and personal information online. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
In fact, there are many small details we don’t think about much that can jeopardize our security. And while having the best free antivirus software you can find is crucial, it is not enough, unfortunately. So here are ten things you should do to improve your Internet privacy and keep malefactors away.
1. Take care of your social media accounts
The Facebook data breach made a lot of people become more private or delete their accounts altogether. Yes, we can’t force you to stop sharing your personal information on social media platforms. We all love showing others bits of our lives. But even if you share something online, you still can do it more safely.
First of all, go to your account settings and proceed to the Privacy or Security section. Make sure those who are not your friends can’t see most of your information. Also, avoid befriending people you don’t know. Hackers often create fake accounts they use to collect user data. Only your real acquaintances should see your personal information and what you’re sharing.
Next, avoid using precise locations when you post something. Especially if you’re on vacation. It’s enough to mention the city or the country you’re in. Malefactors often follow the routes of tourists hoping to make some profit off them.
2. Don’t trust cloud storages too much
Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud repositories aren’t as safe as we want them to be. Remember that hideous iCloud leak that exposed numerous private photos of celebrities? And this service is not the only one that got hacked – Dropbox and Google Drive have data breaches, too.
These storages are okay for keeping and sharing not overly sensitive files. You could keep your college essay there or probably some pictures of your dog. But we wouldn’t recommend storing something like passwords or other sensitive data there.
3. Avoid getting tracked
Each time you get on any website, your browser provides it with a lot of information about your online activity. Then you begin seeing those creepy ads that are just too accurate. Well, that’s the least evil that can happen. Hackers can use such information to scam you with spear phishing, for example. The more they know about you, the easier it is for them to get you.
Many users believe that incognito mode your browser offers is enough, but it’s not true. This mode will let you surf the Internet without leaving the browsing history behind. It means that you’re hiding your activity only from people who also use your device. Unfortunately, the incognito mode still allows the browser to share information with servers.
That’s why we advise using special tools that will stop websites from tracking you. Many advanced Internet security suites offer such a feature, among others.
4. Leave as little information as possible
Many forms you need to fill in when, for instance, buying something online will ask you for data such as your phone number, name, location, email, and so on. While some fields are necessary, others are not. Pay attention to that, and leave only the bare minimum of data. If the form allows you to leave only your name without a surname or an email address without a phone number – fill in only the necessary fields.
5. Use different secure passwords and password keepers
Ideally, you should have a different password for each account. And every password should be a unique combination of symbols you’re using only for one certain account. Then even if hackers figure out the password for one service, they won’t be able to use it for any other.
It’s virtually impossible to remember all the passwords, especially if they’re complex. Therefore, try using password managers that will keep all the data safe and available only to you. You could keep a document with the list of accounts and passwords, of course, but it’s not very secure.
6. Check app permissions
Especially if you didn’t pay much attention to this detail before. Go to Settings on your mobile gadget and look for the App permissions section. Check which apps have which permission and deny some of them if needed. The fewer apps gather your data, the better.
7. Keep programs updated
Updates fix vulnerabilities apps had in previous versions. That’s why keeping your programs outdated; you ease the job for hackers. If you don’t like apps getting automatically updated, remember checking them for updates every week or so and install newer versions. Thus, you will keep your device safe.
8. Use mobile data as much as you can
It’s easier to connect to WiFi in a public place. But the truth is that public networks are very vulnerable to hacker attacks because they’re rarely managed in terms of security. Public routers rarely get updates or any safety software installed, and it’s easy for malefactors to get into the system. From there, they can proceed to any device connected to the network.
Sticking to mobile data, you will not expose your gadget to malefactors. However, it’s not always possible to avoid public WiFis. So if you connect to such a network, make sure you have antivirus and firewalls up along with a VPN service. The latter will keep your activity anonymous. And even though hackers will be able to see your activity, they can’t see your device in particular. So it will be impossible for them to get into it.
These actions are quite effortless. Yet, they will make a difference. Always think about your actions online and try to be cautious. Any security tools will help you greatly, but in the end, it’s mostly about your behavior.