Online, Offline: 7 Ways to Safeguard Your Privacy While Using the Internet

Whether you like it or not, the internet is an inescapable part of day-to-day life. Everything from communication to entertainment to information access has a home on the world wide web, offering limitless access to information in seconds. However, the online world is also ripe with risk, leaving many vulnerable to costly cyberattacks. 

Thankfully, you can safeguard your privacy online by implementing proper precautions. Read on for seven cybersecurity tips to keep your information safe while enjoying life online. 

Use private browsing

A straightforward yet effective way to protect your online privacy is by utilizing private browsing settings. With the simple click of a button, you can search the web without leaving a record of your browser activity. However, it’s worth noting private browsers cannot combat sophisticated tracking applications. So, if you’re looking for additional protection, consider installing a VPN to direct cyberattacks away from sensitive info. 

Don’t reveal your home address

Though it may seem safe to enter your home address into online shopping sites or internet forms, even secured sites are prone to data breaches. Thankfully, you can circumvent the system by utilizing mailroom P.O. boxes—a separate address for packages and mail. You can even sign up for cheaper virtual address options, enabling you to forward deliveries to your home without compromising your address. 

Use tracking protection

Though web browsers have built-in tracking protection to block third-party surveillance, many users employ additional security features to ensure online anonymity. For example, Disconnect and Ghostery are free browser extensions that disrupt direct pathways to your server, keeping you safe from hover-happy sites. 

Use two-factor authentication on your accounts

Though it may be frustrating, enabling two-factor authentication on email and social sites can save you from low-level hacks and password breaches. In addition to entering your passcode, authentication applications will generate a unique, one-time code necessary for entrance. By adding a second layer of security to your online accounts, you can reduce the risk of a costly cyber attack.

Don’t over-share on social media

Though it’s typical for social media users to share personal information online—whether through pictures or words—over-sharing on the world wide web comes with a price. For example, uploading a photo with identifiable features can compromise your location, leaving you vulnerable to online and in-person threats. So, next time you upload to Instagram or Facebook, think long and hard about the information you’re sharing with the online world.

Always use strong passwords

The simplest way to protect yourself against data breaches is by creating strong passwords and updating them frequently. Instead of leaning toward the traditional route of birthdays and maiden names, consider throwing in numbers, symbols, and capitalization to throw hackers off your trail.

Use virtual private networks

A virtual private network–or VPN—protects your personal information by encrypting data before leaving your computer and traveling to an off-site server. Whether you’re protecting yourself from public Wi-Fi networks or simply want a security cushion at home, installing a well-reviewed VPN can keep tracking to a minimum. 

What’s next?

The internet is both a precarious and powerful tool. Unfortunately, many online interactions aren’t secure, which is why implementing proper security protocols is a must for internet enthusiasts. By enabling private browsing, upgrading to a VPN, and upgrading all passwords, you can enjoy the online world anxiety-free. 

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