Protect your privacy is an essential task in today's world. Massive breaches at data centres around the world take place usually. Let's be honest, we do not have control over our whole data, but we can control it in some ways. Google and many other giant companies need our data as they can generate a huge amount of income through it.
Eg. Ever imagined that you searched for a product on amazon and viewed about it few numbers of times. Then you searched for a particular type of information on google search engine, then you click on a website and you are inside the website which has the relevant information about the search. There you can see ads displayed by Google (If they have chose google to serve ads on their website). The ads will be about the product which you was looking for on amazon. Imagine now how did that happen?
Till now you must have understood that google to looks at your privacy.
Why and how to protect your privacy?
Not maintaining account privacy can lead to a serious loss in income(money in banks), Identity theft There are several reasons that you should protect your privacy online. Be sure to look out for these things.
1. Use Antivirus Software
Using Antivirus software is a must for any computer or phone – despite whether the device is connected to the internet or not. They are excellent to help us prevent online fraud or damage to our device.
Antivirus software helps prevent invasion into a computer or a smartphone by an unwanted third party. It does so by identifying a computer’s/Smartphones weak spots and adding strength to those access points.
It’s important to use so that data stored on a computer or a device remains safe and unbreachable to anyone other than for who it was intended.
2. Account Hijacking
Ever heard of account hijacking? yes, account hijacking is a process where the hacker calls you and ask you for the details of your account. Usually, the hacker introduces himself as a representative of a bank. Most of the cases they make use of the name of popular banks where the chances of their success are high. They tell you about an upgrade in the bank and they need your account details to do it.
Note:- Bank employees do not need your account password. And such things should not be done online.
To stay safe and protect your account from getting hacked
Never discuss your banking details online. Make it a point to visit the bank and do the necessary work. That way your bank account safety is not compromised.
3. Only Use HTTPS Links
There are two types of links in the internet world. Http(Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) and Https(Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secured), As you can see there is only a single alphabet difference. You might wonder what difference can a single alphabet make? But The alphabet (S) here plays a huge difference. The website which doesn't show as https can have malware installed on it by cybercriminal or fraudster. Hackers can obtain information regarding your bank account and much more stuff which you type on the browser.
HTTPS helps ensure that hackers cannot do this by preventing them from tampering between a website and its users.
4. Keep your main e-mail address and phone number private
How many of us use the same e-mail address everywhere? Yes, we know that we all should just use one e-mail to create misconfusion. But Don't you ever get puzzled in searching that important mail of yours? Doesn't it take too much of time to search that one mail between all of the unwanted spammy junk mail?
The Point of keeping your mail E-mail address and phone number private is that:-
- You can easily separate your business life and private life.
- You can use your main email for business usage whereas you can use your second mail for random signups which you think that it may be beneficial for you.
- You will know where to give more importance.
5. Limit signup forms
How many of us do like a freebie? Something such as getting a Recipe, a Making money guide or something that you love. Websites usually have signup forms where you can signup and get something for free. The websites stores your email at times even phone number in their database and send you emails (They can even sell your emails or number to third party people).
Eg:- Ever checked your spam folder or the unwanted SMS? Yes, these unwanted messages are sent by various companies to usually sell their product to you.
To protect your privacy online:
Limit the signup forms. Only signup in very important places.
6. Deactivate the AutoFill Option
It may sound like a bit weird to you, but turning off the autofill option is amongst the easiest ways to start protecting yourself online. The autofill runs by identifying similar words and numbers when you start typing in your forms. Ever noticed how when you type in your email address, there an autofill option pops up and completes the whole address? This option can be deadly for several reasons, but especially because this information to allow autofill to work has to be saved someplace online.
If it saved online, it is exposed to a data breach by online criminals and hackers. To stop this from being a true reality, simply turn your autofill option off. The feature may save you a few seconds here and there, but ultimately you can survive without it and it protects your identity online.
BE sure to protect your privacy online by deactivating the autofill option.
7. Beware of suspicious emails and links
Ever checked out through your emails and messages? If so, then you might have found many unknown messages. Not every message needs to be valid. You always need to look out the sender name, email and phone number.
Few examples of spam messages include:
- “There’s a problem with your account” – The Hacker tries to trick you into sending your account password or clicking on a specific link by him to fix the problem. Clicking on such links can cause installation of unknown apps, Data sent to the hacker else huge amount of ads and many more.
- Phoney security alerts – email, pop-ups or Facebook notices a warning that your computer is in a huge risk of being infected, typically with a link to click.
- Money Phishing – trying to trick you out of money or bank/credit card account info. Often by pretending to be a free upgrade to your bank security.
8. Check Your Social Media Privacy Settings
One of the Best things to protect your privacy online is to check your social media account settings. It always varies whether you want everyone to know about you or you just wanna be among your friends. We often ignore to set up our social media privacy settings at the time. Eventually ignoring setting up of social media privacy settings can lead people to view our private data. below are some of the special media accounts with their necessary settings to be changed.
Whatsapp has its privacy settings in Settings>Account>Privacy. There you can select the
Last seen - Where people will know when you were last online on WhatsApp.
Profile Photo - Where you usually put on your picture
About - Status
Facebook - Click here to know about the Facebook Privacy settings.
Twitter has privacy settings in Privacy and Safety>Tweet Privacy>Protect my Tweets then click on save.
9. Never Accept Friendship Requests from People you Don’t Personally Know
Fake Facebook Friend request is received by millions of users year after year. You might wonder, why would anyone send you a friend request from a fake account?
Well here's the answer— some of the requests may be harmless whereas some can be malicious. The various types of people who can send you a fake or malicious friend request include:
- Scammers: Scammers create many fake Facebook profiles and send multiple requests to get added to your friend's list. After getting added to your friend list they can gain access to your data that you restrict to "friends only". This data may include your contact information or other personal information that might be useful in setting you up for a phishing attack.
- Malicious linkers: You can receive friend requests from attackers who can post various malicious links to malware or phishing sites on your Facebook newsfeed after you accept the friend request.
- Catfishers: Catfishers create online profiles using pictures of various models in an attempt to hook victims looking for love online or rather stealing their data or grabbing their income. They may send out random friend requests to huge amounts of people before even finding a willing victim.
- Ex-wife, ex-husband, ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend: If your relationship may have ended badly and you have unfriended the person(your ex), you may think your ex is out of your circle of all of your Facebook friends. Nevertheless, your ex can find a way back to your Facebook account by creating a fake profile and sending you a friend request. Your ex might know what are you up to while pretending to be someone else at the same time.
- Current wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend: If your spouse or any other person is unfairly testing your faithfulness, they may end up creating a fake profile with an attractive profile photo to test you by seeing if you react to suggestive posts or chats. Your spouse could record this information to use it against you later.
- Private investigators: Private detectives can make a fake profile and use it to send a friend requests to get more information about you. The kind of information which normally restrict from public view and reserve for your friends only. The private investigators can be appointed by anyone and they might even have a real-life looking facebook profile. A profile which was operated for years along with many friends.
Tips to protect your privacy online - How to Spot a Fake Friend Request
While accepting a friend request on facebook you need to be careful while whose friend request you are accepting. To Spot a fake friend request you can just ask yourself a few questions which are mentioned below.
- Do you know the person who has sent the request or do you have any friends in common? If you do not know the person, nor have any friends in common then there might be a maximum possibility that the friend request can be a fake one. If you can't remember meeting the person anywhere, then there is a hundred per cent chance that the friend request is a fake one.
- Is the friend request sent from a very attractive person of the opposite sex? A lady who gets a random facebook friend request from a handsome guy she doesn't know. These kinds of account have a maximum possibility to be a fake one. Probably made by your friends, cousins, spouse or someone else to Trick you, As the possibilities of you accepting the friend request is pretty high. The same thing holds for the guys.
- Does the friend request come from a person with a limited Facebook history? To spot a fake Facebook friend request be sure to check the person's Facebook timeline. You will get to know about the person, whether he has joined facebook from a short period or a long period, this is amongst the best clue that the friend request is a false one. Many real facebook users have a long history of posts on their timeline dating back several years ago. Be sure not to accept the friend request if the account was created a few days ago, cause the person is most likely trying to scam you.
- Does the person have an unusually small or large number of friends and are they all the same sex? The fake Facebook profiles usually tend to have may have a remarkably small or impossibly large number of friends on their friends' list. You might think that the person is an introvert or possibly a jolly person. But there might be some other reason. Ever wondered what is it? The Making of the fake profile was done in a short period. So the maker of the fake profile sends a friend request to a vast amount of facebook users. Where many people who don't know about this fake profile, accept the request. Another thing you can notice is the type of people in their friend's list. Usually, a facebook profile consists of many users of both sexes, male and female. If the request is from a guy targeting women, expect almost all women in the friends' list, instead of a mix of men and women like you would expect from a real person.
- Did they post any personal content on their timeline? A fake profile might not have much content on their timeline. As the account is fake, you won't see much of a lot of day-to-day activity. You might see some pictures or links. But rarely any Locations or maybe none. Locations tend to describe much more about a person. A profile with location with people tagged in it tends to be a real one. Whereas a fake one might not have such thing on their timeline.
10. Turn off Your GPS
Global Positioning System also is known as GPS, Helps you to determine the exact location where you at. Turning off your smartphone GPS in the settings can help you to maintain your privacy online.
Confused how? Turning your GPS off will not your smartphone apps know your exact location. Some of the applications like social media apps, Post your location online. You might wonder now that "hey I wanna post my location status online, Why should I avoid it?" There is are a few reasons. One of them is posting your live location status online can advertise burglars that you are not at home. Plus, it’s not always the most pleasant feeling to know that you can be traced wherever you go.
BE sure to protect your privacy online by turning off your GPS
11. Remember to Log Out
It might sound that is the thing you usually do, But for those of us who do not logout from our accounts should start practising this. While one of you who do not sign out of their account. They'd be sad to know that the account stays open and running in the background. These websites can track your activity as you're not signed out.
To stay untrackable, just log out every moment you access an online account. Again, it may take a few seconds to do so, but the time you have spent may save you an excellent deal of pain further down the line.
12. Use Public Wifi and Hotspots With Caution
Public Wifi and Hotspots can give you access to free internet services. You might be always happy to connect with them and use it for some time. But you'd be sad to know that these free services can hack your accounts. Public Wifi and Hotspot tend to be unencrypted, so it's easy for hackers to get into the public wifi or hotspot and access all the users details who are connected to the Hotspot.
To Protect your privacy online:
Do not login into your important accounts such as social media accounts and bank accounts while using a public hotspot. Be sure to use a VPN if you really wanna access your accounts. The VPN will provide an encryption method where all of your data will be safe.
13. Don’t use public storage to store private Information
Google Drive, DropBox, Amazon web services, OneDrive, Mega and many more online storage services are many of the online services that are used for storing private data. These online storage services tend to have a share link where you can share your data with other users. Thus storing some passwords online in word document might be pretty unsafe, as you might accidentally share those important documents with other users.
Example, Google Docs is not a great place to store your passwords, and Dropbox is not amongst the best place for your passport scans unless they are kept in an encrypted archive.
Tips to protect your privacy online:
- Store your Private information in your Hard Disk
- Create a Separate File in Your Laptop and lock the Specific file
- Store the Important Stuff in your Smartphone
14. Clean your Internet browsing history after every use
Browsers tend to make our life easier. They store copies of the websites that you visit and tend to load them up faster the next time you open them. They save your time by auto-filling your online forms. They can even store little packets of data around so that they can remember how you like things. (That’s right. They even leave you cookies.)
It’s nice to be loved. We all appreciate the extra convenience.
But all that personal information your browser stores is leaving you exposed to tracking and hacking – and it doesn’t take much for the wrong people to get their hands on it. The safest way is to delete the browser history after every possible usage. know more here
Tips to protect your privacy online:
- Clean your browser regularly. Clearing your cookies, cache data and web browser history after every possible session may be a boring process for most of us, but you can get into good browser hygiene habits by doing it every two weeks or so.
- Update your browser. Developers add new layers of protection against recent threats, so you might want to make sure that you are up to date.
- Never use your browser’s ‘remember my password’ feature. If keeping track of all your passwords is starting to give you a headache, maybe it's time you get password managers that keep your data under lock and key with maximum ease.
Know How to Protect your privacy by:
- Deleting your Chrome browsing history
Deleting browsing, search and download history on Firefox
Deleting your browsing history in Internet Explorer
- Clearing History on Safari
- Clear Browsing history on Opera
Clear Browser History and Cache in Microsoft Edge
Deleting your browsing history and protect privacy in UC Browser
Clear History in Brave Browser, Delete Cache and Cookies
15. Use a VPN to Make Browsing Anonymous
VPNs are possibly one of the most trustworthy ways to protect yourself online and have a truly secret browsing session. They work by usually connecting the users of the VPN to the internet through another server which is located according to the users choice. The connection is encrypted by the VPN provider who has set up the Virtual Private Network for its subscriber. The encrypted connection is called a tunnel and they are incredibly challenging for hackers and spammers to infiltrate to obtain data on a person while they are online. Plus, as all the data is encrypted, even if they do infiltrate the tunnel, they cannot read what is being sent over the internet anyway.
Plus, one of the benefits of using a VPN is that the provider hides the user’s original IP address and gives them another one once they are connected to the server. This means that a VPN can stop various sites from tracking your real IP address and therefore your location and browsing habits.
Be sure to choose the right VPN service for you.
16. Using Private Browsing Modes
To increase online security in today's world, many of the browsers have started giving out a feature known as private browsing mode. This feature helps users to stay safe while using the internet.
Eg. Google Chrome's Incognito mode. You can recognize it from the icon which looks like a hat and glasses.
It does have a few limitations. But if you don't want to use a VPN then this is a good alternative for you. Few browsers like Tor or Firefox Focus doesn't allow cookies or pop-ups, plus they use a secured and encrypted method for browsing where users activity is not traced.
Staying Safe and maintaining privacy is a very important task. The above-mentioned tips might help you to get rid of the maximum of the things which people can use to track you and get your information.