Improve Your Online Privacy

Computer users

Protecting your privacy when you surf the web is important. The NSA made headlines by invading internet users’ privacy, but they’re not the only ones trying to find out what you do online. There’s valuable data to be had for hackers, but advertisers are also interested in your search history and activity. Ian Paul, of InfoWorld, suggests three ways to protect your online privacy.

  • Use a private network

If you’re using public WiFi, you shouldn’t be accessing your bank account or any other online account you wouldn’t want another person to have access to. Free WiFi is fine for surfing public web sites and reading the news. For anything more substantial, you should wait until you’re on a protected network. If that’s not possible, think about investing in a virtual private network, or VPN. When using a VPN, the only information others can see is that you’re connected to the VPN. That even includes your internet service provider. Some VPN’s monitor your activity themselves, however, so do a little research before signing up . 

  • Use the cloud judiciously 

Public cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive are extremely helpful. You need to be careful about what you store and share there, however. These are public clouds, which means the data you’re storing is unencrypted. Anyone who breaks into your account will have access to everything you have stored on the cloud. Instead, consider using a private, encrypted cloud for your most sensitive data. One way is to encrypt your files before putting them on a public cloud, but a better option is to invest in a service with built in encryption. 

  • 2-factor authentication 

Using a strong, unique password is a good way to protect all of your accounts online. It doesn’t make them hacker-proof, however. Many online accounts are offering 2-factor authentication, which makes it much more difficult for anyone else to access your account. To set it up, you’ll request a PIN from Google, Facebook or whoever your account it with. They’ll send it to you by either calling or texting the phone number associated with the account. You then enter that code with your password to verify that you are the owner. Now, only the devices you’ve authenticated in this manner have access to your account. 

These techniques help keep you safe online, but no method is foolproof. Cyber criminals are continuously coming up with new ways to steal your information or infiltrate your accounts.

For help improving the security on your devices, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. We not only fix broken and infected devices, we also help you keep them safe.

October 9th, 2013