With practically the whole world having to resort to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online privacy concerns have taken over the minds of most businesses and many individuals. According to research carried out by Pew Research Center, greater than 50 percent of US retailers faced cybercrime issues in 2017. Let’s look at the major online privacy concerns that you need to be aware of in 2021 and how you can defend against them.
1) Use a Reputable VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) protects your personal information by encrypting data and making it readable to cybercriminals. Installing a VPN is not a complex task. It’s as simple as installing a browser extension. A good VPN for your PC will help ensure that even if your device or connection is hacked, the hackers won’t be able to access any of your data since all of it is encrypted and unreadable.
2) Use a password manager
Having a strong password is the first step you should take to protect your data from unauthorized access. A strong password has a mix of lower and upper case letters, special characters, and digits. It’s also important not to reuse passwords and change them regularly. Having said that, it’s not easy to remember different passwords. The best thing to do in such a scenario is to go for a password manager that can assist you by generating random passwords and remembering them for you so that you don’t need to rack your brains each time you think of logging in securely.
3) Keep track of the privacy settings of your social media accounts
Social media usage has grown exponentially in the last decade. But, are you aware that social media platforms capture your personal information, and third parties can access this information? In fact, Amazon and Cambridge Analytica have partnerships with social media platforms to get access to their user’s personal information. However, you can tweak the privacy settings in each of your social media applications to be restrictive. By doing so, you can restrict how much information you share with your friends and the public. It’s a good idea to set these privacy settings to share the least information publicly.
4) Secure your wireless network
One of the simplest ways for hackers to access your private information is by attacking unprotected wireless networks. You should always secure wireless networks with a strong password that is not easy to guess. Configure your router to protect your SSID or network name so that your wireless network is hidden from unauthorized persons.
5) Update your hardware and software regularly
Update your operating software, application software, device drivers, and even hardware regularly. The best way to do this seamlessly when it comes to software is to ensure that all updates are automatically installed. Also, remember that companies do not support old devices and software forever. So, if you are using a really old phone or an outdated version of an operating system, in all probability, you won’t get updates for them. In such a scenario, it’s always a good idea to upgrade to the current version.
6) Enable two-factor authentication.
Strong passwords can also be bypassed or cracked by hackers. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to get extra protection from cybercriminals. Try using services that use an authenticator app, as these are more secure than other methods, which involve getting an email or text message with a security code.
Remember that how you protect your online privacy is up to you. Do not wait for others to take steps to safeguard your personal information. Following the steps shared in this article will help you get started with this.