5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Digital Security

Written by on November 7, 2018 in News Flash with 1 Comment

Everything you do online is recorded. Social media sites are collecting and selling your personal data, and even your ISP (internet service provider) can log, store, and even profit off your browsing habits.

With so many companies vying for your personal information, it’s never been more important to improve your digital privacy and security.

If you’re ready to take your personal information back into your own hands, here are five simple steps to follow.

1. Reign in those social media profiles

While Facebook and other social media sites may make it easier for you to stay in touch with your old high school friends, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that your data isn’t private. Your full name, relationship status, job title, family members, and area of residence are all readily available, and that’s just scratching the surface: highly personal details about your day-to-day life (including every post you’ve liked and every page you’ve ever clicked on) are not only stored online, they’re also collected and sold to random third-party companies.

In order to keep a low social media profile, your first step should be managing which types of data these apps are able to access. Take a few minutes to review your app’s permissions—especially your mobile ones. Depending on the particular app, you can manually change what types of personal data these apps are able to access fairly easily. Android users can follow this guide to review their app permissions, while iOS users should follow these steps.

2. Increase your privacy settings

One of the easiest ways hackers are able to access a person’s network is through exploiting a flaw in their outdated software. It might feel like a chore, but updating your devices is quite possibly the easiest and most effective way to help keep your data safe. Because developers are constantly rolling out new updates to patch known security flaws, these updates not only help your software run faster, they help safeguard it.

In addition to updating your devices, you should also make an effort to change your passwords at least once every fix or six months. Try to avoid using real names as passwords, as studies show that using your spouse, child, or pet as a password makes your accounts inexplicably more vulnerable. If you need help keeping track of all your robust passwords, consider arming yourself with a password manager. Most services offer a watered-down free version, which in most cases is usually more than enough.

3. Download an ad-blocker

While most sites depend on ads for revenue, the hard truth is that many of these so-called ads come with a multitude of privacy risks. Pop-up ads, in particular, are often filled with various trackers and malware, resulting in slower load times and an abundance of unwanted cookies that actively track your browsing habits.


In order to help streamline your browser settings and boost your online security, consider adding a free ad-blocker in the form of a browser extension. Readily available on most web browsers these days, these browser extensions automatically block any and all website ads, resulting in a smoother, safer, and faster web experience. And if you’re visiting a site you know and trust, you can actively disable your ad-blocking settings to allow the said site to run ads.

4. Invest in a trusted VPN

 If you really want to keep your data private, the single best option is to use a VPN (virtual private network). Once seen as a commodity, VPNs have become increasingly commonplace over the last few years for a variety of reasons. First of all, they’re able to anonymize any public network, meaning you’re able to browse on any public WiFi network without having to worry about your data being exposed.

Second, they able to mask your current location while you assume another. That means users in heavy internet-censorship countries like China can use a VPN to both encrypt their network and browse the web from the location of their choice.

VPNs are incredibly easy to use and generally cost between $5 and $10 a month. While free options do exist, they’re usually much slower and tend to be less secure.

5.  Use a private browser

Google may be the world’s most popular search engine, but it’s far from private. Every search query you make is logged and stored, meaning both your ISP and Google itself has a comprehensive record of everything you’ve ever searched for.

Sure, surfing on an incognito browser may hide your web activity from your cookies, but it doesn’t mean that you’re browsing anonymously. In addition to using a VPN, consider removing Google from the question altogether and turn to a more anonymous search engine like DuckDuckGo. It works the exact same, offers roughly the same search results, and is 100% anonymous.

While these tips are sure to give you an instant security boost, it’s important to make an effort to surf safely every day. This means keeping on top of your various social accounts, limiting which types of data your apps are able to access, and limiting your digital footprint.

 

Tags: , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

1 Reader Comment

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1. Pearson says:

    I believe that using any VPN is very important (but just the paid ones, I do not trust free VPNs). I personally use Nordvpn, it keeps my online activity safe and secure, so I am not worried about my web privacy. I never heard anything about DuckDuckGo page, but I will definitely try it if you say it is 100% anonymous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to a friend