Who thinks of 10 years ago and
thinks of the 90s? I know I do. When we used telephones, postal addresses,
wrote letters, cameras, cassettes and radios. Today, most of those things have
been replaced by one device- the mobile phone. Still, our greatest invention is
the internet- a small gadget that connects us globally. Through the internet
you can travel all over the world, stream movies online and communicate with
people miles away. Thus, we say we live in the digital era.
The internet has its advantages
and disadvantages. One of its worst limitations is protection of privacy. Once
you upload a photo online, it can be seen and shared by the public. Email
addresses face the threat of spammers and viruses. This article will give you
tips on how you can protect your privacy online to avoid hacking and online
1. Limit personal information
you share online
Social media tools are great
platforms to meet new people. However, hackers and cyber criminals can access
your personal information such as date of birth, email address, phone numbers
and credit cards. Such information can be used to steal your identity and in
such instances, remedying the situation can be costly.
Remove any sensitive information
added in any social media site. All sites have Settings Tab that allows you to
limit the amount of personal data you share online. You should not accept
friend requests from unknown people. Share discrete information through the
message icon (inbox) and not on walls postings.
2. Install antivirus software
to protect against malware
Most people believe that computer
viruses were created to create a market for antiviruses. A virus is a malicious program designed to
steal personal data including your physical location, and to crash your phone
or computer files. You can install antivirus program that can either be free or
paid for version. Some programs are fake so ensure to do research on the best
programs to use. I would recommend AVG and Ad-Aware free antivirus.
Emails are the easiest ways to
download viruses. Also, they are the most targeted as hackers can pretend to be
legitimate businesses. You should not download any attachments unless you have
confirmed their address from the sender. Be aware of phishing- these are links
that direct you to new sites where you enter your personal information
including bank account details.
To be safe, use email services that
are trusted worldwide. They include Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail. They encrypt
messages from your inbox and outbox and notify you of spam messages. For social
media accounts, create separate email accounts.
3. Invest in VPN services
Employers, internet service
providers, the government and advertisers can access your information through
IP address when you are logged on to the internet. This shows that the internet
is not safe. You can solve this problem by using virtual private network (VPN).
VPN technology has the following
Protects your IP address
from online spies.
information that is damaging when wrongfully accessed.
Helps you hide your
identity from the public.
Allows unrestricted to
Using VPN service is not enough.
You can hide your identity from companies through browser extensions that are
free to download. Moreover, there are search engines that do not record web
4. Create strong passwords
A password is like an ATM pin that
gives you access to your accounts. Weak passwords are hacked and used to gain
access to your accounts. Avoid using personal information such as birthdates,
‘password’ and phone numbers as your passwords. They are easily guessed by
hackers as they hold sentimental value.
To create strong passwords, you
Have a long password that
includes capital letters, small letters, numerals and punctuation marks.
Use a password manager to
secure different passwords for different accounts.
Install a password for your
mobile phone to log you out of any site.
Change your password as
often as you can.
Using a strong password, lock
mobile devices, computers and laptops in case they are lost or stolen. Some
apps with passwords are installed to lock your devices or erase data to
Accounts such as Gmail, Facebook
and Dropbox now require two-factor authentication to enhance security. After
keying in your password, you enter a special code that is sent to your mobile
phone via SMS. Gmail requires a code every time before accessing your account
in a new web browser.
5. Delete Apps and tracking
Advertisers mine for personal
information to promote services and promote advertisements on your wall. They
gain your information through Facebook Apps and Tracking Cookies. Delete and
block any apps or unwanted cookies on your web browser to limit the amount of
activity information stored online.
Most apps are designed to
automatically update over Wi-Fi networks. Some people that it’s intrusive.
Updating software adds new features that enhance security. WhatsApp updated
their software to enhance end to end encryption. The security measure
restricted access of information to third parties.
6. Purchase from secure online
Online shopping has taken the
world by storm because of convenience, affordability and availability. Your
item is delivered at your doorstep soon after purchase. Despite the
convenience, many customers still fall prey to scams and online fraud. To have
the best shopping experience, you should:
Research the authenticity
of online retail shops. Most online shops have legitimate websites with
reviews, physical locations and are very popular. Do not purchase any item from
a suspicious website.
Do not share your social
security number or bank details with anyone. Some hackers request the last 4
digits of your credit cards. Then, they use this information to get all the
other digits by checking where you applied and the numbers given at your
Pay for your items in cash.
Cash payment limits your credit card activity online and reduces chances of
fraud. Sellers assume that no person will pay for an item that they did not
In case you decide to pick
up your item, have someone else accompany you. Do not pay for an item without
inspection and after payment, request for a receipt.