How to Protect your Identity and Privacy Online
With an increase in cybercrime, it is becoming increasingly important to protect your identity as much as possible.
This is as important as retaining your privacy as they both lead you to areas where there is too much visibility and can leave you open to hacking of your computer and personal information being stolen, viruses finding their way onto your computer and corrupting your system.
Here we will run through some of the best ways to protect your online identity.
As much as we like to connect to many people on social media, friends of friends and the like, this can leave us wide open as we have no idea whom we are connecting to.
Personal details such as address, telephone number all the way to your child’s age and school they attend. All this extra information gives hackers a far better chance of compromising your system.
To restrict who sees your posts, your social media privacy settings should be set to “Friends Only” as this will give you a much more secure profile.
We all use passwords of something that is close to us, and easy to remember. The downside of this is, it makes it much easier for hackers to guess are passwords. With our personal information, they can quickly piece together patterns of passwords we are likely to use.
Once they have this, they come to find we have used the same password for all of our accounts. Using multiple passwords gives another layer of protection for our privacy and identity.
Using a VPN Service
There is a growing trend for people to use a VPN service. Although this can reduce your internet speed, it is one of the most reliable ways of protecting yourself as you are virtually anonymous while surfing. If you do any online banking or shopping, this is the safest way to conduct your online transactions.
To set up and a VPN is easy, and there are many options available, some free and some paid for. If you are concerned about your privacy, this might just be a small price to pay, for protecting yourself. VPN can be sometimes blocked on streaming site, if you are concerned about that, read this guide about vpn and proxy errors.
By blocking cookies, you might have to log in every time, or certain things will not show immediately when you visit a specific site. This small inconvenience is a low price to pay when it means that websites will have a harder time in tracking you.
With many browsers, you can download extensions which can improve your surfing experience. There are even some that offer you a VPN that you can use. These link directly into your browser, so they are there first hand to defend you rather than a third party application completing the task.
A good many browser extensions are used to block adverts and also block cookies. AdBlock or UBlock, being two of the more common.
For convenience, there are many sites that allow you to login by linking your accounts. A prime example are sites, that will let you use your Google login for access to your site.
From their end, it means they have your contact information without thinking they are going to send you emails, and from your end, it means you have let no end of sites have access to some of your information, even if it was not intended.
It only takes one of these accounts to be compromised, and any other accounts that link can also be compromised.
Sites that now use your location to offer better services and target better advertisements, on the downside this gives people more information about you. Although you might find it useful (in some circumstances), it is advisable to leave it off.
One major problem is IP based geolocation is harder to stop, that is unless you are using a VPN. This broadcasts your IP address to any (and every) server that you pass through. This makes it much easier for someone to gather information about you from any location in the world.
As you can see, there are many ways to protect your privacy and your identity. To set everything up can take a matter of minutes.
It might be a case you sacrifice some of your internet speed to use a VPN although, you might have much more to lose that signing up for one of these.