5 Internet Privacy Tips to Help You Protect Your Identity
Here are a few easy but important internet privacy tips that can help you better protect your identity.
In our globally connected world, we all have to interact with companies, friends, employers and coworkers online. That means much of your information is stored, shared and accessible online, even to people you don’t know.
Pay close attention to how you use the internet and interact with web services, and you will immediately notice the large volume of data you willingly share online. Social media posts, photos uploaded to the cloud, your search and browsing history, and everything in between are data sets with immense value in to advertisers and businesses.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, there is more good news: privacy protection isn’t as difficult as you think. Through the use of simple security tips and tricks we are about to discuss in this article, you too can start maintaining a higher level of privacy online. Let’s get started!
Internet privacy tip #1: Know What (and When) You Share
The first thing you can do to limit the amount of personal data you share online is, well, not sharing it. Not every little thing in your life needs to be shared on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, after all. Worst of all, these companies might be tracking you even on seemingly unrelated web pages.
This is why you want to drop the habit of staying logged in to social media sites while browsing the internet immediately. When you have your Facebook account logged in, for instance, the social networking site can track you beyond Facebook using a tracker known as Facebook Pixel. Every time you come across a Facebook ad on another site, Facebook learns something new about you.
Logging out is also good for when you want to browse the internet in a neutral way. You can stop worrying about ads targeting you specifically or price aggregators altering internet prices based on your interest level.
Internet privacy tip #2: Delete Cookies
Cookies pose security risks on their own. While most cookies don’t really contain sensitive information, they still say a lot about you as an internet user. Should cookies fall into the wrong hand, the data they contain can be processed and used for malicious intent.
Some browsers now let you clear cookies and browsing history automatically every time you close it. There are also ways to automate the deletion of cookies periodically. If manually deleting cookies isn’t something you want to do, these automated methods are great alternatives to look into.
Internet tip #3. Stick to Secure Networks
Public Wi-Fi networks are incredibly useful, but they are not the most secure way of connecting to the internet. Public Wi-Fi networks lack the security measures you normally find in office or home networks; in other words, most of them are unprotected. Unprotected Wi-Fi networks expose you to more risk of information theft and data sniffing.
Instead of relying on unprotected Wi-Fi networks, stick to secure ones. A security measure as simple as WPS is better than no security measure at all. Secure Wi-Fi networks in public places are becoming more common too, so you don’t have to sacrifice convenience for privacy.
Privacy tip #4. Remove App Permissions
The biggest attack surface when it comes to privacy, however, is your smartphone. It is a device that goes with you all the time. It is also a device that gets actively used throughout the day. A smartphone can reveal a lot about its users — too much, in fact.
Apps, with the right permissions, can access quite a lot of information on your phone. Some apps even ask for permission to access your call and message logs, your stored Wi-Fi networks, and the photos or files you store in the device. These are the details that must remain inaccessible.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the permissions you give to apps, now is the perfect time to do a thorough audit. You can go through the apps on your phone one by one or use trustworthy review apps to automate the process.
Internet privacy tip #5: Mask Your IP Address
Of all the internet privacy tips shared, this might be the most important. There are details that we share willingly and information that servers can collect automatically. The IP address you use to connect to the internet gets logged every time you access a server or a web service. That IP address actually reveals a lot of details, including the ISP you use and your approximate location.
If you want to learn more about masking your IP address and preventing others from tracking you that way, reading our article on hiding your IP address.
One of the top recommendations you’ll read about it using a VPN, a Virtual Private Network, to hide or mask you IP address on demand. To learn more about VPNs, if you’re new to the topic, read our own article on IP address basics.
However, if you want to cut to the chase and see the top VPNs for privacy, visit our VPN Simplifier page on privacy here.
These are the internet privacy tips that you can implement right away. They are simple enough to implement, but they have a big impact on your privacy online. If you want to start protecting your privacy whenever you use the internet, these are the tips to use.
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