Keeping your data secure online will continue to get harder. In the last year, we have seen privacy issues with huge products like WhatsApp, Google, and of course Facebook.
As breaches continue to happen the onus falls more onto each individual to start ensuring their digital privacy.
What is digital privacy?
Digital privacy is when you are able to use the internet or connected devices without giving access to your sensitive information.
The threshold for this will vary by person. Some people are very comfortable giving away information such as their address, work status and date of birth for example.
Whereas some people will refuse to put that information online. So digital privacy depends on each individual's comfort zone.
So now you know what digital privacy is, here are some actionable tips to help you protect it.
Change your mindset
If you want to protect your digital privacy then changing your mindset is the first step. That means becoming more aware of when you are giving away information, or when your information is at risk.
Many people are simply not aware of the times they are giving away their personal information.
Location tracking on your phone is a good example. You may not even know it's on, or you may just want the useful benefits it can offer. But it's an example of you giving away personal information.
Retailers and technology companies rely on you volunteering information. When filling in a form online just because they ask for information doesn't mean you have to give it to them. If a field is not required then you don't have to fill it in.
Secure your accounts
To achieve any level of digital privacy you will need to secure your accounts. Here are two great ways to make sure your accounts stay secure.
A big reason people end up with the same easy to remember password is that, well, it's easy to remember! But password managers mean you don't have to worry about remembering complex passwords.
Using a password manager is the most important thing anyone can do to protect their digital privacy and security. Password managers like LikePass and DashLane can generate and store random passwords. So you can have different passwords for all the different accounts you have without the need to remember them.
The best password managers will also monitor your accounts for security changes and give suggestions for existing weak passwords you should change. They will also sync between your desktop and your phone.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) acts as a fail-safe to protect your accounts. 2FA requires you to have two steps to access your account. So after entering your password you will then be asked to enter a code (usually sent to your phone).
So, even if your password is compromised your account is still secure because only you will have access to the code. 2FA is now very common with banks and even the bigger social media sites.
Update Your Devices
As hackers are becoming more sophisticated manufacturers are forced to continually update, or patch, their products. By updating your devices you are installing these new security patches. If you don't update them then your device quickly becomes vulnerable to hackers.
On your mobile device, you will be able to set up automatic updates. You won't have to keep remembering to update your applications it will be done automatically for you.
Change your web browsing
Different browsers have different privacy options. If you want to protect your digital privacy make sure you understand the privacy settings of your browser. If it doesn't offer enough privacy change it.
Remember there is a difference between security and privacy. Google Chrome is an extremely secure browser but it also takes a lot of information when you use it.
You can use browser extensions that will block adverts and the data they collect. Most of these extensions will also have security features as well that will prevent malware.
Use an Antivirus
If you use Windows 10 then use Windows Defender. It's the Microsoft built-in anti-virus software and it's a great starting point for protecting your computer/laptop. If you are using a Windows version older than Windows 10 you should update it. It's not long until Windows 7 end of life and creates a whole host of security issues.
Aside from Windows Defender, there are numerous high-quality anti-virus products you can buy to protect your devices. A quick search online will find you many articles on which is the best available.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPN, or virtual private networks, allow you to connect to the internet through a remote, or virtual, server. The data sent between your device and the VPN is securely encrypted. Using a VPN gives you privacy by hiding your internet activity from both your ISP and anyone else tracking your activity (browsers, advertisers, etc).
As with Anti-Virus software, there are many good options available for VPNs. Most will cost less than £10 a month so they are an affordable way to further protect your digital privacy.
As you can see you have a lot of control over your digital privacy. If you follow the above steps you can reduce the amount of information that goes online and further secure your accounts and data.