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How to Protect Your Personal Information Online

how to protect personal information online

You probably spend a lot of your time on the internet, wandering around the virtual space seeking entertainment-filled platforms, friendship opportunities or simply more knowledge of things you are curious to know.

However, as you spend more and more time online, you come to a realization that the internet isn’t a safer place anymore. When you indulge in activities on the internet, you end up building an active online presence. With time, you inadvertently grow that presence by sharing more personal information than you are supposed to reveal.

As a result, you either end up losing your personal data to hackers or spies, or to the marketing firms for whom your personal data is a precious commodity.

To prevent your data from getting into the hands of people you don’t know, it’s important to learn how to protect your personal information online.

Your Private Data Has a Great Price Online

These days, you can never take your privacy for granted. When you browse a website, cookies and caches are stored on your computer, tracking your online behavior. By studying and analyzing your online conducts, marketers can show ads that are relevant to your demographic or even likings.

Ultimately, marketers make a hefty amount of money using those ads. Truth be told, you can never be sure whether they use your personal data for marketing purposes only, and not other ulterior motives.

Likewise, hackers are also out there to steal your data and make your life a hell. For instance, a hacker may breach into your personal folder, access elicit photos and threaten to make your photos public if you fail to meet their terms. Or, they may even steal your credit card information and end up emptying your bank account.

The scenarios are countless. At the end of the day, it is you who is losing the battle here.

Your Privacy Can Be Breached In Ways You Never Knew

Learning about someone’s personal information isn’t difficult these days. Just type your name on people finder websites, you will be overwhelmed with the search results. Here are some ways anyone can breach your online privacy.

  • If you don’t know how to protect your personal information online, you can never save your privacy from government agencies or ISPs. They can easily watch your online activities when you use the internet without any protection, i.e., encryption.
  • There are keyloggers (malware) available that can log the sensitive information you type, and send it to the owner of the keylogger. Most of the times, such keyloggers come attached with software, and it is usually installed on your system without your knowledge.
  • As a regular internet user, you are prone to using public Wi-Fi’s. Unfortunately, public Wi-Fi’s are never secured. On the contrary, these hotspots are more likely to expose you to countless online threats.
  • Phishing is yet another bane of internet users and the most common type of scam. It is usually carried out via eliciting emails, where you are impelled to access links that lead you to scam websites.

The common types of privacy breach methods listed here present just a tip of the iceberg. These methods not only warrant your attention, but also urge you to understand how to protect your personal information online.

Ways to Protect Personal Information Online

Consider practicing the following tips so that you can protect your precious data:

  • Always Stay Vigilant

Make sure that you never share your information you don’t know. Plus, you should always stay on alert when you see a suspicious online activity. For instance, you should avoid accessing an email claiming to be sent by someone you know but containing suspicious links. Likewise, never be trapped by a scamming website that asks you to share your details in exchange a reward.

  • Stop Sharing Everything on Social Media

Social media is the ideal place for hackers, or anyone who is after your details. When you share too much information on social media, you make it easy for such individuals to monitor or track you, or gain access to sensitive details

For instance, you have shared your lovely pets name with your name on FB. Now, if you have used “your favorite pet’s name” as your secret question, anyone would only need to check your FB profile and gain that information from there. Isn’t that easy?

This was just a simple example and your information can be used in many other ways, costing you not just your privacy, but also probably your money.

  • Block Your Browser Cookies or Trackers

Cookies and are some tools used to monitor everything you do when you browse a website. Such may track your user id, your preferences, and more. By blocking these tools, you restrict the ’ from accessing the information that you don’t want to reveal. You can use tracker and ad blocking tools for this purpose.

  • Decide Yourself What You Want to Share

Millions of people around the world download mobile apps. If you look around the iTunes or Google Play Store, you would see how these platforms are brimming with different types of applications. Users not just download these apps but also blindly allow the apps access to their privacy.

When you download an app, it would ask you to give permission to your map, , contacts, and more. Remember that not every app would require access to such features. For instance, a recipe app doesn’t access to your contacts. Therefore, always avoid unnecessary permissions to your details.

  • Setup Incorrect Security Questions

As discussed above, it is now easier to get insights into your likings or disliking and even relationships through social networks. Using those details, hackers or spies can easily get past the security layer when hacking your account.

One way to reduce the chances of an account breach is by using incorrect details when setting up . For instance, you don’t need to use your pet’s real name for the security . Instead, you can use the name of someone else’s pet name.

  • Use Anti-Virus or Anti-Malware

If your system to the internet, it is prone to expose to the malicious tools that online. If you want to keep your system safe from such exploits, it is imperative that you install an anti-virus or anti-malware application. These tools with the latest security patches and databases. Ultimately, they remove malware or other threats and give you a better chance to keep your system invulnerable to any cyber-attacks.

Protecting personal information should come as second nature to everyone. After all, we live in the age where privacy is more of a concern now than ever!

An information security analyst in the making, a father of an adorable kid and a technology writer. He can be found lurking around top network security blogs, looking for scoops on information security and privacy trends.

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