Privacy is hard to come by nowadays. If you’re not sure about that, take a look at the location settings on your phone. How many companies have access to your location at any given time?
We live in an era of big data. It’s not only information like your Social Security Number and credit card details that people are after. Your shopping habits, interests, the educational background can help someone profit too. Both the bad guys and companies like Google and Facebook want to get their hands on it.
You can’t go back to the privacy of the past. But there are plenty of ways to increase privacy and ensure your safety in the online world. All you have to do is stop making these everyday privacy mistakes:
1. Oversharing on Social Media
By 2021, 3.1 billion people will be social media users. If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re already one of them. Social media is amazing. You can connect to friends, track the news and trends, and so much more.
But because you can do all that, it doesn’t mean you need to share everything. Think of social media as a communication tool. Would you set up a detailed profile on Whatsapp or iMessage? Probably not. The ironic thing is these platforms are much safer than Facebook.
You can include the basics about yourself, but don’t go much beyond that. Fraudsters harvest data to steal identities or to access accounts. Keep your account private and only share personal information with people you know in the real world.
2. Sharing Your IP Address
Do you ever wonder how ads know your location? They check and track your IP address. Your IP address reveals a lot about you, including your approximate location, network information, and more. Snoopers can even use your IP address to follow your activities around the internet.
That’s why you need to hide your IP address. The best way to do it is by using a VPN service. Not getting into a technical definition of what is a VPN, know it’s a software that first connects you to its server, which then connects to your target web destination. By doing so, it both encrypts and anonymizes your connection, providing the freedom to browse the internet privately. Find more information here: https://nordvpn.com/what-is-a-vpn/
Be sure to also enable “incognito mode” or use a privacy-centric browser like Brave or Epic Browser to keep your browsing even more private.
3. Accepting Third-Party Cookies
Thanks to the EU General Data Protection Regulation, cookies are finally getting the attention they deserve. Cookies are essential for creating a smooth online experience. To put things simply, you need first and second-party companies for the sites to load fast and smoothly on your browser.
Third-party cookies are the nasty ones that websites use to track your online activity. When you travel across the internet, you pick them up on each site. It is how companies build a profile about you to show targeted advertisements or harvest your data for other purposes.
Change your browser settings to refuse and delete all third-party cookies for much more privacy.
4. Using Public WiFi
Public WiFi is fantastic. It’s not only free but often fast and doesn’t require setting up a mobile hotspot. Public WiFi, however, is often filled with vulnerabilities.
To begin with, open WiFi is a massive target for hackers since it’s often not secure enough. You have no idea what malware may be lurking on the network. You also don’t know who the network admin is. Are they selling your browsing data to somebody else?
If possible, avoid public WiFi and set up a hotspot on your phone instead. If you must connect to a free hotspot, make sure to have your VPN enabled. Its encryption will keep your data safe.
5. Enabling App/Browsers Permissions
When you install an app, it’s easy to let it have all the permission it wants by default. But these permissions are one of the greatest sources of privacy infringements. Allowing microphone access lets your phone listen to you while location sharing lets it track your every move.
You can’t disable all permissions. But you can restrict them to what’s necessary. First, go to location services and turn off “share my location” with all but essential apps. For those, allow location sharing only when the app is in use.
The same goes for any app that wants access to your microphone, camera, contacts, and other permissions.
You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Privacy
Enjoying the best of modern technology doesn’t mean you have to give up your privacy. With a few easy steps, you can enhance both your privacy and security in the online world in no time at all. Are you ready to do so?