It’s easy not to think about protecting your privacy online. After all, the fun seem to never end when you have your daily ration of Facebook or Twitter or RPG games on your fave device online, an iPad propped on its sleek iPad mini keyboard for instance. No undue interruptions. No complications. Not until you notice your email seem to have a life all its own. Or worse, you realize your credit card bills simply don’t add up.
Certainly, it pays to stay on the alert online. Recent attacks on millions of shoppers (e.g., Neyman Marcus, Target) should be enough to bring shivers down the spine of any online citizen worth his salt. Not only are the threats growing bigger as thousands of new viruses and malwares gets launched every year, cyber criminals and marauding bands of despicable online denizens are becoming more thorough, more sinister in their attacks. As the online population reach epidemic numbers, so are the prospects of profiteering.
With a digital threat looming large, online protection seems to have ballooned into a huge burden on every netizen’s shoulder. Good thing keeping yourself on track requires easy, simple steps anyone can follow. Read on.
1.) Lock down social media.
Cybercriminals gather bits and pieces of information over time and they can do this surreptitiously via Social Media apps. When people are enjoying their company online or engaging into the action in various games available, data could be vulnerable and easily stolen. Be careful when someone invites you to join a game or be part of a group. For all you know it’s but a ploy so they’d be able to get your password details, email etc. Remember that plenty of apps ask you for authorization to access.
It is recommended:
• Utilize a privacy settings when engaged in FaceBook
• Be vigilant to which apps you give access permission.
• Maximize security settings in social media (Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIN)
2.) Employ secure browsers only.
Maintain a healthy diet of strong browsers. History will show Internet Explorer has been a favorite attack target for hackers. Alternatively, you could use Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Learn to maximize security features in its browser setting. For instance pop-up windows should be blocked by default. Same goes true for cookies and website data from various third-party sites.
3.) Secure your mobile phone data.
As a rule, Android phones attract 99% of mobile malware. However, Apple implements a more stringent approach in controlling its apps to fight spyware, viruses and malware. Added to this, iOS 8 gives a more secure environment to fight cyber criminals.
4.) Warning: Free software, apps and services could be free malware.
The ploy of deployingfree apps to get you to do the cyber criminal’s bidding is an old hat trickbut it still works. Be cautious with friendly apps that offer free service. Remember that these companies also have manpower to feed. And even big companies like Google and Facebook can be used by cybercriminals to get what they want. For instance, practice turning off access to your mic and camera even when you have allowed Google to use it as other “unseen entities”could manipulate data from these windows.
5.) Employ a strong password strategy.
This should be elementary. A common password which includes your name and your year of birth at the end should be avoided. If you fear losing your password, you can use a phrase such as “John graduated in 1989!” rather than a mundane “John1989”. Note that the exclamation point at the end should give hackers a hell of a night.
6.) Keep your IP address under wraps.
Services like ICLOAK Stik are heaven-sent when it comes to putting your IP address invisible to everyone else online. ICLOAK is designed to spoof your Machine Address Code (MAC) protecting you from unwanted cyber-attacks in the process.
7.) Utilize a VPN service when connecting to the internet.
Utilizing a public network or Wi-Fi can be tricky as denizens can snoop on your data and tamper with your account. To counteract this, a VPN or Virtual Private Network should come in handy. Don’t worry, you won’t have to lose your shirt to get many of these service.
8.) Take advantage of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
A lot has been said about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Some good and many of them bad. However, for an online buyer Bitcoin pose a unique advantage as no digital footprint is left behind after the transaction. Meaning you will not leave an electronic trace for cybercriminals to leverage upon. Unlike using credit cards.
9.) Encrypt emails with GnuPG.
Encrypting your email is one way to make sure data cannot be tampered with. The good thing is email encrypting tools like GnuPG are completely free.
10.) As a rule, use cash.
Paying in plastic seem pretty convenient. But recently, a spate of attacks on millions of “card-users” has given us a jolt, dramatically changing our peripherals. As a rule, use cash when you transact. As this is close to impossible online, you can make use of banks that issue temporary, unique Credit Cards with numbers designed for a single transaction. Chase Bank is one.
Being vigilant certainly pays off. Your online identity and corresponding data is like a big treasure. Keeping it unprotected is equivalent to inviting thieves to feast on it.