In a time where an online connection has become more important than ever, protecting your personal information online is a critical step in protecting yourself and your family and remaining in control of your privacy.
What Exactly Does Online Privacy Mean? Our Definition
Online privacy is defined as the level of security at which a user’s information is published and shared on the internet. Online privacy is a blanket term referring to both personal monitoring techniques as well as technology used to protect information shared online.
Using the Internet Safely
As online usage continues to increase, using the internet safely has been a growing concern. Do we actually have any privacy online anymore? It seems like theses days, personal online privacy on the internet has diminished, with an increased amount of hacked accounts.
According to studies at CNBC, over 7.9 billion accounts were hacked online in 2019 alone. Personal accounts aren’t the only susceptible information online, larger companies and legitimate websites like 7-Eleven, Fortnite, and WhatsApp also reported data breaches. Even apps like Zoom Video Conferencing have been reported of getting hacked from undetected unknown sources.
How to Avoid Internet Privacy Problems & Risks
How can you protect your privacy online? The internet is filled with opportunities for your personal information to land in the wrong hands. With the help of these specific tools and techniques, users can avoid internet risks & problems and secure their personal data and ensure their online privacy for good.
Here are a few ways to protect your personal information:
Use Antivirus Protection
Using a good antivirus protection software like McAfee, Norton or Sophos will help protect the user against risks like phishing, pharming, malware and spyware.
By installing antivirus protection to your device, you inhibit a hacker’s ability to steal any personal information, redirect your IP address, or install a virus.
Avoid Unreliable Websites
Even with antivirus protection, there are still ways for hackers to get a hold of your private data.
Never share personal information with websites you do not trust. To avoid identity theft, only share your social security number, bank account number, or medical records with legitimate and trusted websites.
Create Strong Passwords
Avoid using the same login information repeatedly. Choosing passwords with varying lengths, characters, numbers and capitalizations will give you better protection.
Using the same username and password on all of your online accounts is like giving your hacker a skeleton key to access all of your accounts at once.
Use 2-Step Login Verification
Using a 2-step verification process is also helpful in protecting your online privacy. A 2-step verification process usually involves using the original login information with an additional verification process sent to the main user’s email address or phone number. You also usually get a confirmation notification, which would allow you to detect a login from an unknown source.
Clear Your Browsing History Frequently
Another good way to protect your information online is to constantly delete your browsing history. Your internet browser holds onto the information you’ve typed in over time. By clearing your cache, cookies and browser history, you delete that trail of information and help protect your privacy.
Secure your WiFi Connection
Always make sure you are using a secure WiFi connection, especially when accessing or sharing personal information from your device on a shared network. Sharing a WiFi connection with an unknown source allows for the ability of a data breach. Use a virtual private network, or your personal home WiFi account as much as possible.
Practice Social Media Safety
Internet hackers aren’t the only ones who can be harmful to your internet privacy. Sometimes, the account holders themselves are to blame in sharing too much information online.
Taking precaution when it comes to oversharing on social media sites. Aside from setting your account to private, and only accepting friends and followers you know personally, you should also pay attention to what type of content you’re sharing online.
Ask yourself if your future boss, colleague, respected family member or significant other would approve of what you’re posting online. Oversharing personal information on social media is not only harmful to your privacy, but it also has a negative impact on your online reputation. Protect your own personal identity by practicing social media safety.
Websites That Collect User Information
In some cases, trusted websites like Google and social media networks collect data on their users in order to gain key insight and analytics on their audience.
Search engines like Google heavily depend on data collection to help their site perform at its best. Google uses the collected information to provide users with information that best relates to the individual user based on their search history.
Have you ever noticed how you Google something one day, and an advertisement pops up the next day related to the item you searched? Google uses your information to implement targeted advertisements to optimize the likelihood of you clicking on the advertisement.
Social Media Networks
Social media sites also use data collection and cookies, just like Google. Based on your activity and interests, social media sites will use that information to suggest other profiles for you to connect with, as well as collect information on user accounts to provide analytics for the business.
Take Instagram for example, Instagram collects cookies to help provide better service, features and ease of use.
What To Do When Personal Information Has Been Leaked Online
If you or a loved one has been a victim of online identity fraud, or an online reputation crisis, working with a company providing reputation management services team can help fix, restore and protect your online identity for good. Learn more about our online privacy services we offer.
With personal reputation management you gain the ability to work with trained professionals to remove the harmful information online, restore your reputation and regain full control over your online presence.