Ways To Protect Your Internet Privacy
Internet privacy refers to a person’s privacy and security level so that personal data won’t be collected and used for illicit purposes. It is the ability of individuals to control the flow of information and have reasonable access to data generated when using the internet.
This has always been the issue of most users as one click can break a person’s privacy online. With the internet, anything posted in public will remain there forever. Credit card numbers, social security accounts, nude photos, scandals, etc are just some of the privacy leaks that are common on the internet.
As people use the internet for a variety of purposes, they don’t know that they are leaking private information online. In general, using the internet means you are giving up some measure of your privacy.
Privacy is a major concern for internet users, and one of the common problems with it is that people assume that they have control over their information – the truth is, the internet controls you. This is often the case particularly if you use social media a lot and share your thoughts and personal information on the said site.
Facebook and Privacy
Facebook is the most widely used social network. People use Facebook to meet new friends, communicate with their loved ones, post live updates of what is going on with their lives and just enjoy seeing their friend’s posts.
However, Facebook is the death of privacy. Any post you share, any message to your friends are being snooped by Facebook. Have you ever wondered why some ads in Facebook fit you personally? That is because Facebook uses your data to target ads.
If you’ve been using Facebook for quite some time and haven’t done any edits to secure your privacy, then all your posts have been viewed, not just by your friends, but for everyone in the internet. This is because, Facebook’s privacy setting is public by default. Anything you post can be searched online and can be accessed by anyone even if they are not in the social network.
It’s not just Facebook, every site you access online has something to do with your privacy.
Is your privacy safe online? If you can’t answer this question then your privacy is not safe. Here are some ways to protect your privacy.
Take care of your personal information
Guard your date of birth, telephone number, social security numbers and other information that can prove your identity. Identity thieves need only two things to steal your identity: date of birth and social security number.
Encryption is the process of encoding information so that it is only readable to those who have given access to it.
Most online services like banking institutions, social media and email applications now has secure connections. You can check if your connection is encrypted if the url has https:// not http://.
Read Access Privileges on Sites and Apps You Are Using
Apparently the terms and conditions of the site or app aren’t read often. Who would want to read a ToC that could be over a dozen pages in length? However, if you really are serious about your privacy, you need to read them.
Facebook has warned us from the start that even if you own your post, messages and pictures in the said social media platform, these data can still be snooped especially if you’ve set them to be viewed publicly. It was written in Facebook’s ToS right from the start, but still a lot of people complain that their images, and posts got leaked online.
This also goes true for mobile apps. Free apps don’t necessarily mean they are free. A flashlight app had been discovered to be selling emails to advertisers.
The app you might be using to communicate with your loved ones might be storing chat logs that can be read by just about anyone. And you didn’t know anything about that because you were eager to use the app; thus neglected your privacy.
Consider using an app that protects your privacy
Your IP address tells everything about you. Where you live, your browsing habits, etc. That is why authorities can easily trace you hackers that don’t protect their IP address.
Tor is a software that prevents anyone from learning your location, browsing patterns and is an extremely effective tool against network surveillance. The software is essentially a network of virtual tunnels that allows your real IP address to remain hidden and undetectable.
Tor essentially secures the line and keeps you anonymous every time you use the internet.
Don’t Sync Everything to the Cloud
Remember the Fappening? If you haven’t heard of it, it is the nude images and videos of Hollywood actresses that were leaked online. How did that happen? Eventually they store these files in Apple’s cloud drive (iCloud) and a hacker gained access to it, then leaked it.
The convenience of the cloud has a price. Companies that host these cloud storing services have your files either unencrypted or protected with a layer of security that is beyond your control. This means that your data can be accessed easily.
Any well-informed hacker can use techniques to break into your account and access your cloud files. They can discover the server’s weakness and gather everything you have in store without you even noticing it.
Use 2-Factor Authentication
The password you are using for your email and social media sites is not enough. Any hacker can guess your password and gain access to your personal information. However, you can keep your accounts secure through 2-factor authentication.
This feature adds an additional step when logging into your email or social media site. The website will either send you a text or call you with a unique short one-time use code that you’ll type on the login page. Even if the hacker steals your password, they wouldn’t be able to gain access without the confirmation code from the 2-factor authentication feature of the site.
Gmail and Facebook are some the sites that offer 2-factor authentication.
What if Your Privacy is Compromised?
If you believed that you might have revealed sensitive information like your banking information or social security information, contact the website as soon as you can.
Also contact your financial institutions and close your accounts immediately. Check for any unusual activities on your account and contact anyone who will be able to help you.