5 tips to protect your privacy online
Protecting your privacy online is a must-do. There are a surprising number of ways for your personal information to be hacked, stolen, or simply looked at. You don’t want this to happen to you? Here are how to protect your data online.
Protect the messages you send over
To be sure the only person accessing your message is the one you send it to, make sure to use apps that encrypt your messages end-to-end. This means that your message is sent across encrypted and is only decrypted when it arrives at its final destination. WhatsApp and Signal are two messaging apps using end-to-end encryption. For emails, services like Protonmail offer fully encrypted email services. Remember though that if the person you’re sending the message to doesn’t use an encrypted email service, your message will not be sent encrypted.
Don’t let companies know which website you’re browsing
The reason why you see ads complementing the sites you visited is because … you’re traced when you surf the web. Being untraceable on the Internet is not easy to do. Here are a few options:
Use a browser extension that will block sites from tracking your visits, like Privacy Badger or uBlock Origin. They’re free to download online.
Use a VPN service to browse the Web. A VPN service is a collection of
networked computers through which you send your Internet traffic, which
prevents website operators from determining its origin. A simple one to start with is Freedome by F-Secure (you’ll have to pay a monthly fee).
Use a search engine that doesn’t record search queries and protect your privacy, like DuckDuckGo or Qwant.
Secure your identity with a two-factor authentification
A password can be easy to crack.
Two-factor authentication (also called 2FA) is a method to confirm your identity using two different elements. It’s like when you withdraw money from the cash machine: you need to have the correct combination of bank card (factor n°1) and PIN code (factor n°2).
So typically on websites using 2FA: instead of just asking for your username and password, it will also require another piece of information, such as a numeric code that will be sent to your phone. It’s a longer but more secure way to log in to your accounts. Services like Google and Facebook now support 2FA, so no excuses to skip it!
Keep your devices secure with basic privacy tricks
Keep all software up to date: Did you know that 90% of software updates are there to patch security failures? Updates not only correct bugs and add new features but also patch vulnerabilities. A hole in the security will allow malware’s attacks: make sure you’re covered as soon as one is discovered.
Beware of phishing emails: Never visit an important website such as your bank’s by clicking a link in an email. If you do click a link, make sure that the website is secure: in your browser, look for a green lock icon and company name to the left of the URL bar.
Be Wise About Wi-Fi: Before you send personal information over your laptop or smartphone on a public wireless network in a coffee shop, library, airport, hotel, make sure your information is protected.