In a time when more and more of our lives are done online, it is more important than ever to know how to keep your information private on the internet. Here are some ideas that will help you do that.
Basic rules about keeping your information private on the internet
Use strong passwords
Use strong passwords to protect your online accounts. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so. A strong password has at least eight characters and a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Don’t use words like your name or birthday that are easy to guess, and don’t use the same password for different accounts.
Watch out for phishing schemes
Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals pretend to be a real company or person to get you to give them your personal information.
They could do this by sending you a fake email from a real company or making a fake website that looks like a real one.
Be wary of any email or website that asks for personal information, and never click on links or attachments from people you don’t know.
Use a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a tool that encrypts your internet traffic and sends it through a server in another place.
This makes it a lot harder for people to watch what you do online or steal your personal information.
When you use public Wi-Fi, VPNs are especially helpful because they can protect you from hackers.
Check out our VPN Ranking if you are interested in VPNs.
Don’t share too much on social media
Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but it’s important to know how to use each platform’s privacy settings and do so in the right way.
Don’t give out too much personal information, like your home address or phone number, and be careful about what you say about other people.
Don’t forget that anything you post online could be seen by anyone, so think twice before you hit “send.”
Make sure your software is up-to-date
Keeping your software up-to-date is one of the best ways to protect your computer and your personal information.
This includes your operating system, your web browser, and any plugins or extensions you use.
New versions of software often fix security flaws, so it’s important to install updates as soon as they become available.
Most software can be set to update itself automatically. This is the best way to stay safe.
Go to sites that are safe
Make sure a website is safe before you enter your personal information on it. Most of the time, the URL of a secure site will start with “https” instead of “http.” Your browser should also show a lock icon next to the URL.
If you’re not sure about a website, you can always call the company and ask if it’s real.
Pay attention to what you download
Be careful about what you download from the internet, as some files may contain viruses or other harmful software.
Make sure you only download files from sites you know you can trust, and scan any files you download with a good anti-virus program before you open them.
Use two-factor authentication
Use two-factor authentication to protect your online accounts when it’s possible.
This adds an extra layer of security because you have to enter both your password and a code that is sent to your phone or email.
Even if someone knows your password, this makes it much harder for them to get into your account.
If you would like to know how to turn on use two-factor authentication, read this article.
Check your credit report often
Your credit report is one way to find out if your personal information has been stolen. Every 12 months, you can get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Look over your report carefully to see if there are any mistakes, and let the credit bureau know about anything that seems strange.
Watch out for scams
Scams come in many forms, so it’s important to know what to look for. Be wary of emails or phone calls that you didn’t ask for, especially if they ask for personal information.