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How to Protect Your Personal Data Online

Internet users have become increasingly concerned about the question of online privacy. When most people consider online privacy, they tend to think of specific examples, such as submitting personal information or payment details at online checkout. However, the question of online privacy extends far beyond the example above. The list below outlines some of the most effective ways to keep your personal information private when using the internet.

Use a VPN

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, connects your device to a server somewhere on the internet, which means, essentially, that you can use another computer’s location. This means that your computer and your online activity are much more difficult to track.

Use a Secure Search Engine

When it comes to online privacy, not all search engines were created equal. Some search engines, like Google, actively track their users to gain as much information as they can to provide the most personalized experience possible. Internet users who would go for privacy above personalization should consider using a more secure search engine, like DuckDuckGo.

Use Incognito Mode

If you are using a computer that is not yours and cannot download a more secure browser, you should consider using incognito mode. Incognito mode deletes cookies and temporary files that are used to track online activity.

Check Before Shopping

Before you make a purchase online, you should check to see what cybersecurity and data loss prevention the business has in place. Data loss prevention, or DLP, is particularly important as it protects your personal information against both external cyber-attacks and internal threats. To find out more about data loss prevention, click here.

Don’t Click on Email Attachments

Of course, if you receive an email from your boss or your mum, you can be sure the link will be safe. However, if you receive an email from somebody you don’t know, or a strange email from an ‘organization’, you should avoid clicking the link. Phishing is a practice used by cyber-attackers that involves sending an email that encourages the receiver to click on a link. Once the link has been clicked, the cyber-attacker is then able to access personal information or even hijack the user’s computer.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

As the name suggests, two-factor authentication requires a user to validate a purchase or a log-in with two processes rather than just one. This might involve entering a password and answering a security question. Alternatively, internet users can set up two-factor authentication when making a purchase online. This can require a user to input their card information and then type in a code that has been sent from their bank to their mobile phone. Two-factor authentication is an added layer of protection against the damages caused by online privacy breaches.

Don’t Overshare

When you are using the internet, it is important to remember that whatever you share is out there forever; even if you delete a post, it is never truly erased. It is important to be mindful of what you share on your social media. You should think carefully before sharing information about your identity, location, or other personal information. The more of these personal details you share online, the easier it is for cyber-criminals to steal your identity. 

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