7 Tips to Manage Your Identity and Protect Your Privacy Online
Life online is liberating but also quite dangerous. Indeed, the internet lets you access the whole wide world with just one screen and a few buttons. But slight mishandling could land you into some dangerous situations. You may have to pay a price as heavy as safety, reputation, or even life for the liberty you get.
For that very reason, we recommend our readers to operate safely on the internet. And while you think you operate all safe and sound, you might be unintentionally engaging in risky activities. Here we’ve listed 7-effective tips to counter that. You can use these to secure all forms of your online activity.
What can go wrong online? And why?
Before we dive into the list of tips, let’s quickly visualize what online damage looks like, especially when it comes to identity and your private data.
In 2021, almost 294 million people had their data compromised. And when we say that we mean their private and confidential data got stolen online. It may have been their social security number, passwords, bank account details, house, and health information.
Let’s consider Lt. Mike’s case from 2005 and back. He’s from Houston Police, and despite his position someone acquired his personal information from his father’s employer database. Using this data, he created fake trading accounts and stole $10,000 from a university. Mike had to endure a tough journey to prove that he wasn’t a thief. Even after this, Mike had to deal with fake online trading accounts twice after 2005. After that, he took super strict measures to avoid further damage.
If you’re shrugging this off, thinking no one will do this to you, allow us to open newer directions to think. (Remember, prevention is better than cure!)
You could become a victim of identity theft on two grounds:
- Personal Grudges
- Criminal Activity
If you’ve had a bad history with someone, they might want to avenge themselves, and you may suffer identity theft. Your data may be at risk. But why identity theft?
That’s because damaging someone is far easier in the online world as compared to the physical world in the current times. Plus, the impact of online damage is long-lasting. So, it’s satisfying for the avenging party.
If you’re all clean in that regard, you still have to worry for yourself because there are internet goons out there. They’re hungry for money, and they won’t think twice before using your name to achieve their goal.
Their goals may include:
- Robbing your bank accounts
- Using your identity to rob other bank accounts
- Direct you to websites that you never intended to visit
- Get you stuck in a dark web scam
- Sell your data to other illegal parties who may use your identity to commit various crimes.
In the end, you don’t only lose data but may as well get arrested. If someone commits a crime as severe as murdering, you might get a life sentence if you’re unable to prove that you’re innocent.
It’s that serious of a concern!
7 Tips to Manage Your Identity & Protect Your Privacy Online
According to CNBC, thieves of the present times first set their eyes on all your details available online. And trust us. Considering our browsing methods and casual activity online, it’s quite easy to get the most crucial of details.
So, here we’ve listed seven effective tips that you can use to manage your identity and protect your privacy online.
Tip #1. Browse in Private Mode
When using a shared device, the best way to protect your data is to browse with private or incognito mode. It’s a mode wherein your browsing activity doesn’t get tracked. The browser will not record the URLs of the pages you visit, and your history will not be available on the surface.
At least, the next user of the device will have no idea about the pages you browsed. Moreover, the browser will not store cookies, login details, or anything else until you permit it.
However, you ought to know that incognito mode promises basic online privacy only. Your data and browsing history will not be visible to the next PC user, but it will be accessible to your internet service provider and whoever rightfully owns the PC. Plus, the websites you visit will be able to see that you visited them.
Tip #2. Use Virtual Private Network
Next to private browsing, we have a VPN. It is short for Virtual Private Network, and it is higher-level encryption of your browsing data.
VPN becomes your source of data when you browse with it. It hides your IP address and browsing history such that third parties like your internet service provider, hackers, or criminals cannot easily access your online activity.
It disguises your browsing data with a code. Even if someone tries to decode and read it, it will take them millions of years. So, it’s practically impossible.
Apart from disguising your whereabouts and secure encryption, VPN connections also provide regional access and convenient data transfer. At times, you may not be able to access websites or transfer data due to location limitations. But with a VPN, you can do it with ease.
Since it makes your browser invisible on the internet, you’re 10x safer against external attacks.
However, it is important to note that VPN may not provide complete anonymity. At times, web pages collect minor information in the form of cookies and other forms, which can give away your personal information, such as your geographical location.
For that very reason, users need to hunt down a good VPN network and only then entrust with their privacy. A good VPN network should:
- Encrypt your IP Address
- Encrypt all protocol
- Offer a kill switch (i.e., terminate preselected programs in downtime).
- Two-factor Authentication
Plus, the VPN service provider should have a strong history of reliability. You can assess this from customer reviews. But usually, such VPN services are expensive. They can cost you as high as $12.95 per month.
Given that you have no apparent threat to deal with, it almost makes sense to let go of this extra expense. After all, it adds up to $155.4 annually!
But hey – this is where we ask you to go the extra mile and hunt down that one most affordable VPN like ZoogVPN. There are still hidden gems out there, you know! Plus, this slight little investment of time will save you a lot of damage and stress in the long run.
Tip #3. Set Strong Passwords
You’ve learned to browse safely. Now, it’s time to pay a bit of attention to protecting and managing your identity. Step one to do this is to set up a super strong and safe password.
Some of the best practices to set up strong passwords are:
- Create an 8-characters long password.
- It should contain both uppercase and lowercase letters.
- It should be a combination of numbers and letters.
- It should contain special characters.
- Never include obvious information, like your name, age, or location.
Tip #4. Link, Authorize and Protect Your Socials
If hackers can’t get your ID, password, and browsing data to acquire personal information. They’ll get to you externally. They’ll get to your socials and fetch as much data as they can.
To keep this from happening, we recommend the following:
- Avoid letting people you don’t know into your network.
- Avoid checking into your real-time location on social platforms.
- Do not share a picture that discloses your location until you’ve left the place.
- Use security software
- Keep an eye on unusual logins
- Avoid sharing your login details with more than one person
- Do not use unnecessary, massive reach hashtags before following and observing them for a while
Note that this form of external data acquisition is most common for working professionals and businesses. That’s because hacking a business’s social identity is equivalent to getting your hands on a stream of income. If the public trusts the business’s name, it’ll be easier for the criminals to fool the public.
So, if you’re a brand, looking to secure your social media, we suggest you browse this all-embracing guide for brand security social media.
At times, internet criminals might not even bother or harm you. They’ll simply replicate your pages and steal your identity in a way that you can’t lay back your claim. For that very reason, always legally secure your brand name before you build it.
Tip #5. Be Careful with Your Clicks
Hackers can also access your data with your clicks.
How so? They can do so via phishing.
Phishing is basically a common practice among cybercriminals, wherein they strategically ask for your personal information. Be it your biodata or financial details.
They could be asking you via email or a strange pop-up on a strange website. These messages may even appear to be from your bank, some financial institute, or an individual you trust.
Therefore, never click on links in suspicious emails or new messages from apparently important people or places. Take your time before clicking on any links.
Tip #6. Don’t Give Permissions Recklessly
Are you guilty of mindlessly clicking okay, or do I agree on pop-ups when you’re searching for something desperately, and they keep coming in your way?
Well, that’s where the destruction starts. Hackers benefit from these mindless grants and penetrate deep into your devices.
Whether you’re surfing the web or downloading an app, avoid giving the following permissions:
- Phone Calls
- Media Files
- Call log
We know some apps might not work without access to these, so do your research and ensure it comes from a reliable developer.
Tip #7. Use Quality Antivirus Software
Lastly, never leave your devices unguarded. Always install quality antivirus software and have it always running. It will get updated regularly and protect your devices against any hackers or cybercriminals trying to hack your device remotely.
Like VPN services, we recommend diving deep into the developer’s history before installing the antivirus software. Check out its performance history before entrusting it.
We hope these 7 tips for managing and protecting your identity and privacy help you navigate safely on the internet. But even with these seven measures in effect, you need to have your eyes and ears open.
Be vigilant and thoughtful with your moves. The Internet is a very twisted place!