How To Safeguard Yourself and Your Privacy Online

We rely on the internet for almost everything nowadays, from staying in touch with friends and family to doing our shopping, banking, and even looking up health advice. But this convenience comes at a price; the more we conduct our activities online, the more personal information about us becomes vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. 

It’s important to pay attention to your security and privacy settings and ensure they’re as protected as possible.

The easiest way to do this is by being extra cautious about the sites you visit and the apps you use; after all, the old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ has never been more true than when it comes to online security.

In this article on how to stay safe online, you’ll learn ten simple but effective ways to protect yourself and your personal information against hackers, identity thieves, and phishing scams. Most importantly, these tips will help you stay in control of your own life – not some stranger sitting behind their computer screen.

Let’s get started!

1) Use Private Browsers

As the digital world has become more public, one of the best ways to protect yourself is by using a private browser. Google Chrome and Firefox have great private browsing features and they keep your browsing activity and search history private while being open-source and safer than many other options. 

If you’re worried about which private browser is safest for you, research it or ask someone you trust or whose identity you have verified on Nuwber about these things before deciding.

2) Be Wary of Tracking Cookies

Being wary of tracking cookies can safeguard you and your privacy online. Tracking cookies are bits of code stored in your web browser and can be read by the website you visit. This data is gathered and often used for targeted advertising purposes. 

To prevent this, clear your browser’s cache or delete the tracking cookies from your computer. Deleting these cookies will not cause any other problems with your device. 

If you do not want to go through the trouble of clearing your cache or deleting cookies manually, then some browsers have an option to automatically clear their cache and remove tracking cookies when they close.

3) Watch Out For Scams

Always check if the website you’re visiting has a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate by looking for https in the URL. While you’re at it, make sure your browser is set up to tell you when a site is trying to install software, too. 

To avoid installing malware, pay attention when installing any type of software and only use trusted sources. It’s also important to remember that if you don’t want the information you provide going through third-party companies or being shared with advertisers, then be careful what personal details you share online. 

Remember not to disclose sensitive information like passwords, social security numbers, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers unless they are absolutely necessary.

4) Browse Anonymously

Protecting your privacy online is essential to staying safe. One way you can protect yourself is by browsing anonymously. 

Browsing anonymously protects you from the following risks: 

  • Hackers stealing your personal information, like banking credentials; 
  • Censorship by government officials; and 
  • Advertisers profiling or targeting you with ads based on the websites that are in your browser history. 

You can browse anonymously by downloading a VPN, which creates an encrypted connection between your device and the website. A free VPN will not be as fast as the one that requires payment but will still offer some protection. 

If you’re looking for more anonymity, then try Tor or a proxy browser instead of Chrome or Firefox.

5) Use Proxy Servers When Necessary

Even if you don’t care much about your privacy, using proxy servers when necessary can help safeguard your personal information by acting as a barrier between your web browser and the internet. 

For example, if you use a proxy server when you are shopping online for clothes or other items on popular websites like Amazon or eBay, that company will not be able to see where you live and other identifying information.

6) Create Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are a big step in protecting your privacy online. Whether you’re sharing information with friends or accessing bank data, strong passwords are the key to safeguarding yourself and your personal information. 

A common rule of thumb is to use at least 12 characters, including letters (upper-case and lower-case), numbers, and symbols. 

Additionally, create a different password for each account. So that if an attacker knows one of your previous usernames they won’t easily get access to all accounts.

7) Keep Sensitive Data Locked Away

Protecting your personal information online is paramount. You can safeguard yourself and your privacy online by keeping sensitive data locked away and never sharing it with strangers. 

Keeping an eye on what devices connect to the internet also helps identify possible attacks from people outside your network or malicious software. 

Most networks have a firewall that blocks unauthorized access to computers within the network. These firewalls often come in two forms: hardware-based firewalls for home use and software-based firewalls for business use. 

Hardware-based firewalls typically block intrusions that originate from outside of the local area network, whereas software-based firewalls are better at detecting intrusions that originate within the local area network.

8) Use Anti-Virus Software

Another crucial step in safeguarding your privacy online is to take care of your basic protection needs with anti-virus software. This is a good idea if you use public Wi-Fi, open and share content online, click on links from unknown sources, or are generally careless with your device. 

There are many good antivirus programs available that suit any need, including AVG for those who want a free option and Kaspersky for those who don’t mind paying. To maximize security, it’s recommended to use two types of antivirus—one that scans the hard drive and one that is built into the browser.

9) Delete Harmful Messages Without Opening Them

If you’re concerned about the privacy of your messages and if you feel like someone is harassing you, it’s best not to open any harmful messages sent to you. 

When you delete messages without opening them, the sender cannot see whether or not they were delivered. Therefore, deleting these messages also reduces the chance of exposure to scams and malware. 

You can also disable the ‘read’ option in many messaging apps, so the other person will not know when you’ve seen their message.

10) Don’t Click on Links in Emails From Unfamiliar Sources

Don’t click on links in emails from unfamiliar sources. Attackers often disguise themselves as organizations you might trust, such as your bank or tax software company, and ask for your login information. Avoid clicking on links that come in emails from unfamiliar sources or attachments. 

The Bottomline

There are many ways to stay safe online. First, be smart and educated about the consequences of your actions. The more informed you are, the less likely you will be affected by a digital security breach. These tips will ensure you safeguard your privacy online.