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How to protect your privacy online

Ever wondered how much info you’re spilling online? Sure, there are times when you gotta share personal stuff, like when you’re buying stuff online. But for those other times, it’s crucial to consider what you’re putting out there. Don’t freak out about online privacy—it’s just something to keep in mind so you can develop solid online habits. That way, you can fully enjoy the perks of the internet without any worries.

Apply the same common-sense security measures you use in real life to the online realm. Just as you’d lock your door when stepping out, make sure to safeguard your personal info on the internet. Here are a few steps to guide you in doing just that.

Use a strong password

Easy-peasy passwords like ‘Password1’ or ‘12345’ are a cakewalk for hackers—they can crack them in a flash. To keep your personal info safe, whip up strong and sturdy passwords for all your online accounts. The longer, the better—it makes it way tougher for others to crack the code.

The top-notch password is a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols, but let’s be real, they’re tough to remember. For a simpler approach, cook up a passphrase using a memorable trip or event. Just grab the first letters, toss in some symbols and numbers, and you’re good to go. Easy peasy!

Also Read: How to prevent your phone’s battery from degradation

Don’t share too much information

Platforms like Facebook are awesome for staying in the loop with your crew, whether it’s friends or family. To keep your online life on the down-low, lock down your profile and only buddy up with folks you actually know in the real world. Keep an eye on what you throw up on Facebook. Steer clear of spilling personal deets like your birthday and address, and maybe hold off on flaunting vacay pics until after the trip.

Steer clear of using Facebook (or any other social media account) to log in elsewhere. If you use your Facebook info to sign in on other sites, it opens the door for Facebook to share your data with them. Play it safe and use your email and a password to set up new accounts.

Check apps’ permission

Watch out for apps that demand unnecessary permissions that have nothing to do with what they’re supposed to do. Like, why would a weather app need to poke around in your contacts or eavesdrop through your microphone? Doesn’t make sense, right?

Check out the permissions you handed over to your smartphone apps in the Settings menu. Just scroll down until you hit the list of all your apps, then tap on each one to see what permissions you’ve granted and tweak them as needed.
Think about switching app permissions to ‘while using the app’ instead of ‘always.’ And, if an app’s just taking up space and you’re not using it anymore, it’s probably a good call to give it the boot. Learn more about handling and axing apps.

Pay online securely

If you’re shopping online, the smart move is to use PayPal or your credit card for payment. PayPal’s got your back by adding an extra layer of security – you get to pay up without coughing up your actual banking or credit card info to the online seller.
Here’s how it rolls: when you use PayPal, the online seller sends you straight to the PayPal site for sign-in and charge approval. After the green light, PayPal zips you back to the seller’s site with all the deets confirming your order. Easy peasy.

Before you splash the cash online, double-check if the website is the real deal and totally secure. And just before you hit that pay button, eyeball for the ‘https://’ (the ‘s’ is for secure) and a locked padlock in the address bar. Safety first!

Be wary of phishing scams

Watch out for phishing scams—they’re sneaky schemes pretending to be from familiar places like banks, ISPs, or government agencies, aiming to snag your personal info. So, give those texts and emails a thorough read before hitting any links.
These scammers play dirty, using tricks like claiming there’s sketchy activity on your account or that you’re locked out, trying to amp up the pressure. Stay sharp!

Don’t fall for messages telling you to update or verify your info by clicking links—legit organizations don’t slide into your messages for that. If you’re feeling iffy about a message, ring up the organization directly. Skip the number they give you; look it up online for yourself. Safety first!

Also Read: How to speed up your Windows PC with these simple hacks

Use a private web browser

Certain web browsers, like Google and Bing, keep tabs on your online moves to hit you up with ads that match your vibe. That’s why when you look something up online, it follows you around like a clingy friend on the next website you hit.

Some folks are cool with getting ads that match their interests, but if you’re not down with being tailed online, you can switch to a browser that’s not all up in your data. Search engines like DuckDuckGo and Ecosia let you roam the web like a digital ghost. No tracking, no selling your deets to advertisers, and definitely no permanent storage of your search history.

Keep software update

Tech companies are constantly on the grind, fixing glitches and weak spots that cyber crooks love to dive into, especially in older software. So, when your device throws a software update your way, packed with new features or a security boost, don’t hesitate—hit that accept button.

Use a secure connection

Steer clear of using public Wi-Fi for stuff that needs your personal info, like dropping your address or banking details—even if it’s a secure site. Those Wi-Fi setups at cafes, libraries, or airports don’t match the security of your home Wi-Fi. Save public Wi-Fi for casual stuff like reading the news, general browsing, or streaming something online.