7 Simple Ways to Ensure That You Pass the Online Privacy Test
Last Updated: May 28, 2021
We all love the internet. It makes things more convenient and allows us to connect with people easily. However, while many think it’s safe, there are many risks on the internet. Malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, etc. are always a possibility. It’s your responsibility to be vigilant as you surf the net and access websites and platforms.
Currently, some of the security threats faced on the internet include:
- Identity theft: Hackers could steal your information and use your identity to conduct illegal activities online. Identity theft is the most popular form of cyberattack in the world.
- Credit card theft: Credit card theft is essentially the same thing as identity theft. In this form of cyberattack, however, hackers get your credit card information online and steal your money. Usually, they use their victims’ money to make purchases online.
- Ransomware and malware: Ransomware attacks involve hackers encrypting the information on your computer. Usually, you have to pay hefty sums to unlock your data.
7 Steps to Ensure Your Online Privacy
In light of the above, it is imperative to tighten your security and ensure that you are not vulnerable to attacks. Here are seven steps you can take to ascertain your safety.
1. Check your user accounts
Regardless of the computer you use, there are security settings available to you. So, the first line of defense is usually to test those and see if they’re working optimally.
This step aims to look into your user account passwords and see if your security systems are weak. If they are, then you could be prey for hackers.
2. Ensure that your security software is up
If you have antivirus software, you need to ensure that it’s working well. There are many antivirus software variants available, and you can easily avail yourself of any of them.
An optimal antivirus software will let you know if a website you’re on is unsecured and if your server is downloading a malicious file. You can run tests on your antivirus service to ensure that you’re protected.
3. Test your passwords
You can take advantage of several online tools to check your passwords. Whether it’s a password for your computer or a password you have on an online service, these tools are beneficial. If you find that your password isn’t strong enough, then you can change it.
4. Update plug-ins for your browser
Since your browsers are the primary point of entry into the world of the internet, it’s only fair that you update them periodically. Only the latest and most reliable versions can keep you safe from hackers.
However, having an up-to-date browser is just the beginning. You also need to update the browser’s plug-ins. Outdated plug-ins leave you vulnerable. Go to your browsers (even the ones you might not use) and update your plug-ins regularly.
5. Run a test on your computer’s firewall
The next step for you will be to test the computer’s firewall. The firewall is one of your most fundamental — and critical — security features. It keeps hackers away when you’re connected to the internet.
Sadly, firewalls are far from perfect. A wrong setting can crumble the system and leave you vulnerable. So, you have to check the firewall and ensure that it’s still functional. Many services will help you out with this.
6. Delete old files permanently
You should know by now that pressing “delete” doesn’t get rid of files that you no longer need. Anyone who knows their way around your hard drive can recover them. This is why you need to delete the files permanently.
Even at that, you can run a file recovery program to ensure that the files are really gone. If the program doesn’t find the data, then you know they’re no longer there.
7. Run the Facebook check
Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform, with billions of users. There’s a good chance that you’re one of those people. If you’re a Facebook user, you most likely have a lot of personal data. This is why Facebook invented its “View As” tool to show how some specific people might view your profile.
Go to Facebook > Settings > Timeline and Tagging. Go to “Who can see my things on my Timeline” and click on “View As.” Click through the sections and see what others will.
Will a VPN Protect My Data Online?
If you’re going online, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar location, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a reliable service to have. Primarily, these services help you to hide your location and access some portions of the internet that aren’t ideally accessible to you.
However, VPNs also improve your security online. Most VPNs come with data encryption features that will protect you and hide your data from hackers. In addition to security features like firewalls and antivirus software, these services will improve your protection markedly.
Currently, several VPN services offer a great bang for your buck. However, two of the most impressive are ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Both providers have some critical security features, including:
- AES-256 encryption: AES-256 encryption is currently one of the top encryption levels available. When connected to any of these VPNs, they ensure that your data flow is secure and free of interruption. They also keep hackers and unauthorized parties from accessing the data, so you’re in top position.
- Kill switch: The kill switch is fast becoming a top VPN security feature. With the kill switch, VPNs cut data flow once your device gets disconnected from a server. The feature ensures that all the data entering your computer is encrypted at all times.
- No-log policies: ExpressVPN and NordVPN don’t collect any information about you. So, they won’t share your location, IP address, etc. with anyone. They can only give what they have, right?
- Split tunneling: The split tunneling feature will help you to control the apps, websites, and programs that access the internet directly. The others will access the internet through the VPN.
- IPv6 leak protection: Your IPv6 is the location you get when you connect to the internet. An IPv6 leak is a severe threat to your online security, and it allows hackers to get your location. With any of these VPNs, you’re safe from such a threat.
Security threats on the internet are quite extensive. Hackers are always on the prowl and will pounce at the slightest opportunity. Given how much is at stake, you can’t afford to trivialize your security. You can do several things to ascertain your security. VPNs are also available to provide additional protection. Feel free to avail yourself of any.