One of the most challenging aspects of using the internet regularly is maintaining your privacy online. This is especially true if you have multiple social media accounts or are in a position in which it is best to maintain your privacy – such as if you are a teacher or in a position of power or prominence.
Maintaining your privacy online is difficult because your every move is tracked by search engine providers, website hosts, and advertisers. This data is fed into algorithms that help optimize your online experience, but it can also be problematic if large groups of strangers know more about you than you would be willing to admit to a friend.
Of course, maintaining your online privacy is also crucial to avoid being targeted by cyber hackers, especially if the data you are sharing is valuable. Unfortunately, it is difficult to ascertain how safe email platforms are, which makes communicating privately with other individuals potentially risky.
The good news is that maintaining your privacy online doesn’t have to be hard.
As long as you are careful with the websites you visit, and what you put out on social media, while using a number of tools that can help keep your activity private, you will maintain your privacy.
Here is an easy guide to maintaining your privacy online:
Encrypt your private messages
One of the main uses of the internet is communication. However, it is difficult to send a message to someone over the internet without the host (such as an email platform provider or social media platform) being able to access the contents of your conversation.
It goes without saying that this compromises your privacy, especially if you are in a prominent position and your personal information is particularly valuable. Furthermore, if you are sending a message in a professional capacity (such as sending a colleague sensitive company data), you don’t want to risk having your messages hacked and stolen.
One solution is to encrypt your messages. Encryption basically means that only the intended recipient can access the message (using a decryption key). This safeguards your private conversations from unwanted third parties attempting to access your data. Click here to learn more about encryption.
Use a high-quality VPN
Another way that you can maintain your privacy online is to use a VPN. A VPN is a virtual private network, essentially creating a private connection to the internet.
It prevents anyone from knowing your true IP address, allowing you to surf the web without people knowing it is you. This is particularly useful if you do a lot of business over public networks (such as those in coffee shops) because hackers won’t be able to target you.
Keep your social media private
The most obvious way to maintain your privacy online is to avoid revealing too much information on your social network accounts.
Set your accounts to private so that only approved individuals can access your profile and be careful of divulging personal information that could compromise you in the future.
This could mean refraining from posting your address, bank details (even over private messages), and even controversial opinions (if it impacts the integrity of your job).