The advancement of technology leads to an increase in the value of data that is produced and analyzed. This also heightens the dangers of data breaches that threaten the users’ digital privacy. Information privacy and data security are essential to digital well-being and user safety.
You probably hear more about digital privacy, from numerous data breaches to online tracking, than ever before. It almost seems like living a private online life is impossible. Privacy is one of the biggest concerns for governments and ordinary people, now more than ever
The debate surrounding digital privacy is more intense than it’s ever been. But even in this era of vagueness about the exact meaning of digital privacy, it is still possible to remain secure.
What is Digital Privacy?
Privacy is essential to our safety and well-being. When we lock our doors at night or close our curtains, we’re protecting our essential privacy. Similarly, we’re protecting our digital privacy when we use encryption means for our data, use strong passwords, and limit the information we share online.
At its core, digital privacy is about securing your digital data and keeping your information to yourself.
Digital data concerns all the information created as we surf the web. It includes:
- The things we post on social media. Pictures, location check-ins, status updates, recent purchases, everything!
- The data is collected by IoT software devices, like Fitbit and other fitness trackers or GPS, on our phones.
- The websites we frequently use, the content we’ve bookmarked, and the number of times we visit a particular page.
- We share the content over unencrypted platforms, such as Twitter, Snapchat, and more.
- Any form of scannable data, such as tracking IDs, QR codes, and more.
This is the type of data that appears meaningless but is actually fuel for many companies.
Data breaches, spyware, and even identity theft have become a part of almost everyone’s online experience. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of credit frauds and scams committed online or for stalkers to find someone’s exact location through digital privacy breaches.
Digital privacy is a concept similar to personal privacy; it just takes place on your computer or any other electronic appliance you use. This could mean your Google Nest, your smart appliances, or, most commonly, your phone and personal computer.
Most, if not all, electronics allow for user data collection. Not all reasons are malicious, but it is essential to remain informed.
What does it mean to protect data?
Just as there are different levels to protecting our essential privacy, there are various means to protect our digital privacy. We can consider adding robust firewall options to resemble a sturdy fence around our house, ensuring nothing goes in without our permission.
The first step is awareness. We know that there are strangers who can peek into our house and observe us. In the same way, unknown trackers and other means can take a look at our online activities unless we practice digital privacy.
We can install specific security measures, like a VPN, the same way we would install blinds and curtains so that we can cover our privacy or uncover it at our own will.
All of us have boundaries to what we want to share or protect. Privacy protection measures all depend on the kind of data we want to hide and from whom we want to hide it. We can simply lock our social media accounts to keep our pictures secret from unwanted, prying eyes. We can also choose to encrypt our data to keep our private information out of the hands of malicious data servers.
It is always sensible to follow some basic practices that can help prevent things like identity theft or loss of credit. With this guide, it’ll be easy to set several mechanisms to ensure that your privacy is protected and your data remains only yours.
Ways To Protect Your Online Privacy
Use encrypted backups
In this day of digital privacy, most users are backing up their data to cloud-based storage. This is a wise decision as our computer’s internal storage is the first thing to go into a digital attack. However, it is essential to ensure that your storage service is protected by encryption.
Options such as Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive all encrypt user-uploaded data. This ensures the user’s privacy by preventing any data from being accessed without a password. If you prefer a physical means of storage, like an SSD or HDD, it is recommended to lock your data with a password and encryption!
Set up a virtual private network (VPN)
VPNs are widely known as an unbreachable security measure that protects our digital privacy. They are the best security guarantee to maintain the secrecy of our information by data encryption. Any internet user can mask their true identity and protect their data by using a good vpn such as Astrill vpn, or a browser extension like ZenMate.
A VPN is easy to set up, and some browsers even have a built-in VPN, such as Opera. Some antivirus software offers VPNs, like Norton, TotalAV, and more. Using a VPN allows anyone online to encrypt their data which even expert hackers can’t access.
Avoid unprotected Wi-Fi networks.
Public wifis are widely known as any hacker’s playground. Unsuspecting users are often victims of cybercrime by means of connecting to an unprotected Wi-Fi network. Hackers can spy on the user’s activities and even gather or access their data through insecure connections.
This makes it easy for your device to become infected with malware or for your data to be collected by cybercriminals.
We recommend connecting to secure Wi-Fi networks only. If you’re connecting to a Wi-Fi network that is unprotected, we recommend using some of the other tips in this article to protect you from any hidden attacks.
Read on to learn more about how a Virtual Private Network can protect you even when you’re using an unprotected public Wi-Fi network.
Commit to Sharing Less Online
Just as you wouldn’t give a stranger access to your house, you should limit the information you share online. Think before you share anything identifiable to you. Limiting what you share and who you share it with will make it more difficult for others to access your data.
This can be as simple as sharing less information online. Don’t share your passwords and sensitive data, and consider locking your social media accounts for just friends and family. To strike a balance, you could have a separate, public profile with limited personal information for those whom you would not trust offline.
Lock your devices and cover your cameras
Sometimes, the simplest means are the best and most secure measures of protection. Pick a strong password that you won’t forget and use it as your computer or phone password. Grab a piece of paper and tape it to your webcam and any other camera that you don’t need constant access to.
This means limiting access to spies looking to peek into your most private, personal moments. No amount of spyware can physically remove a piece of tape off of your webcam.
Use a content blocker while browsing
Nearly every website today tracks what its visitors do online and collects data from users. By using content blockers while browsing, you can prevent this. Many blockers disallow pop-ups and disruptive advertisements. Some browsers, such as Brave Browser and Safari come with a content blocker built into their interference.
However, shifting to a different browser isn’t essential. You can also use a dedicated content blocker extension in your browsers, such as uBlock Origin for Chrome, or Privacy Badger, which is open-source and available on multiple browsers.
Install antivirus software
This is perhaps one of the most obvious tips in this blog. These days, most laptops and computers come with antivirus software pre-installed. Such software runs checks on all of your activities in the background, without any disruption to your workflow, to ensure that you do not suffer an invasion of digital privacy.
For users of all operating systems, Bitdefender, Norton, and McAfee are our top three recommendations. Finally, Bitdefender has one of the most comprehensive security plans, Norton has been praised as one of the most capable and user-friendly applications, and McAfee offers the best web protection on the market.