The Internet offers unlimited potential in the fields of entertainment, careers, and networking. Social media, video games, blogging, freelancing: the Internet allows anyone to do anything they want, given the proper time and finances. But it’s not all great. With all of these good things, the Internet is full of hackers, cybercriminals, and companies waiting for you to trip up so they can have your data.
When you’re on the Internet, it’s important for you to practice proper cybersecurity hygiene so you don’t become a victim of these third parties. Knowing how to practice said hygiene, however, can be difficult, especially if you’re not aware of modern cybersecurity practices. But that’s why I’m here.
3 Methods to Protect Yourself in 2020
In this article, I will go over 3 ways you can keep yourself protected from any cybercriminal or company looking for your personal information. I recommend you follow all 3 at all times in order to limit the amount of information you may accidentally be giving out to said third parties.
1. Practice Proper Cybersecurity Etiquette
No matter what programs you download or how much information you withhold from your social media accounts, it’ll all be for naught if you don’t practice proper cybersecurity etiquette 24/7.
If you use a VPN but log into your bank account at a coffee shop while your screen is facing tens of people, you’ve negated the use of the VPN. If you withhold personal information on social media but fill out scam surveys on every website, you’ve ruined the point.
Hackers and corporations both can easily steal and monitor your activity, ruining your privacy, and putting a hole in your security. To prevent this, you must practice proper cybersecurity etiquette—this is a fact.
2. Limit the Amount of Personal Information you Give Out
Let’s talk about corporations and the importance of your data. See, your data, information ranging from your personal information to your browsing habits, can turn a quick profit if given to the right hands—hands corporations make shake all the time.
Your information is currency. Slip up, and these corporations won’t bat an eye while stealing that information and either selling it off to the highest bidder or using it to improve their own products—with or without your consent. You may know this practice as data mining.
Reducing the amount of data these corporations get is as easy as reducing the amount of information you publish on the Internet. If you share a lot of personal information on social media, scale back. If you have dozens of accounts on sites you don’t use anymore, maybe go back and delete/archive those. Reduce your digital footprint.
3. Use a VPN to Encrypt Your Information
But simply limiting the amount of information you give out about yourself isn’t always enough. Sometimes, corporations—and hackers—take a more active approach, monitoring your activity online through apps, programs, and websites.
One way they do this is by taking advantage of your (probably) unencrypted network, which gives them access to monitor your activity and possibly steal your data. This is especially true for hackers that lie in wait on public networks.
To avoid having your data—and possibly identity—stolen, you should use a VPN. A VPN encrypts your data and hides your IP address, making sure no one but you knows what you are doing. It’s an invaluable tool in anyone’s digital toolkit.
I can’t say it enough: practicing good cybersecurity hygiene is a necessary thing to do in this day and age. Your data is akin to gold, and hackers/corporations will stop at nothing to get it any way they can.
Today, I listed 3 ways you can practice proper cybersecurity, but trust me when I say there are plenty of other ways to do so—all of which you should try to do.