Keeping your information safe should be taken seriously since it is always tracked by many actors and tech companies for their benefit. You need to be careful about the information you share online as most of it is collected and sent to third parties.
Here are 9 ways to protecting privacy in the digital age.
What Do Privacy and Security Mean in a Digital Age?
Privacy refers to the capability to control or limit the people who can access our personally identifiable data and information about our private activities. Privacy is essential in the digital age as it provides us the power to choose the type of information we can share with people online.
Security entails protecting data on digital platforms. The aim is to protect data from unauthorized access by putting in place security controls and access privileges to limit people who can access your data on digital platforms. Privacy and security cover concepts and competencies involved in the effective management of information on digital media platforms.
How has privacy changed in the modern digital age?
Privacy has changed in the modern digital age to mass exposure of information. The digital age has created many communication channels, increased the speed of transfer, and the number of outlets for sensitive information. Information shared on the internet can be accessed by countless numbers of users, companies, third parties, and cybercriminals.
The modern digital age has changed privacy due to factors such as cookies and tracking of user data on search engines, the right to be forgotten due to the longevity and reach of the internet, targeted marketing, and sharing personal data on social media among others. Privacy is not guaranteed on the internet.
9 Ways To Protect Your Digital Privacy
The use of a Virtual Private Network is essential in maintaining privacy and security on digital media platforms. VPN enhances security by establishing a secure connection tunnel between your devices and the internet. It will allow you to maintain anonymity on the internet through encryption of connection to prevent other users from seeing the information you transfer via digital media.
VPN will also give you complete anonymity and privacy by masking your IP address. It secures your information from threats such as spying when you are browsing on public Wi-Fi networks. VPN will also enhance the security and privacy of your data by ensuring that no person or entity such as hackers, internet service providers, and governments can access your credit card information, personal data, and passwords.
Use a non-tracking search engine
Using a non-tracking search engine is one of the best ways of protecting your privacy in the digital age. These search engines do not track users’ data and browsing behavior on the internet to deliver targeted advertising, improve their services, or improve their algorithms.
A non-tracking search engine will give you search results with protection and additional levels of data privacy. Unlike Google which tracks your behavior on the web, non-tracking search engines are privacy-focused. They will not monitor your searches or place ads based on your interests or cookies.
Google alternatives include:
Use common sense
limit what you share with the world & inspect apps you’re using One of the sensible of protecting privacy in the digital age is to limit the amount and type of information you share online. Sharing less information online will enable you to maintain your privacy as the information can fall into the hands of strangers online.
This will minimize the chances of you being scammed online. You need to use common sense when sharing information online and on social networks to avoid sharing too much or revealing sensitive information. Been keen on videos, pictures, geotagged posts, and any sensitive information about you or your loved one since this information can be used maliciously by criminals.
It is also vital it inspects all apps running on your devices since most applications track your data and rarely protect it. Remove mobile apps and software that you rarely use as they may be collecting your data. Download apps from official app stores and often delete them when you stop using them.
Two-Factor Authentications (NO SMS)
Using Two-Factor Authentications (2FA) is essential in protecting privacy in the digital age. 2FA adds an extra layer of security to ensure people who attempt to gain access to an account on the web are the authentic owners of the account.
Using a 2FA, you will first be prompted to key in your username and password. Rather than giving you immediate access to the account, you are required to provide additional information to verify you are the real owner of the account.
The additional piece of information in 2FA can include something you know, something you are, or something you have. Common 2FA information you can use to enhance security includes secret questions, PIN, fingerprint biometric patterns, voice print, or iris scans. 2FA will deter hackers from compromising your account in case they steal your password.
Beware of phishing attempts or illegal web scraping
Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to trick victims to take action that will unknowingly give hackers access to their devices, personal information, accounts, or credit card details. Cybercriminals pretend to be the person or a company you trust, they then infect your system with malware or steal your bank information.
Being aware of phishing attempts will play an essential role in protecting privacy in the digital age. You need to understand what to expect from phishing attempts since hackers can deliver them in forms such as texts, hijacked URLs, phone calls, and emails. Phishing is easy to detect if one understands the forms and actions used to propel these attempts.
The most common types of phishing attempts include phishing emails, domain spoofing, social media phishing, clone phishing, and voice and SMS phishing.
Disable data tracking when appropriate
In the digital age, your information and behavior online are constantly tracked by search engines, applications, third parties, and even cybercriminals. In most cases, user data is transferred to third parties that sometimes hack users’ accounts and gain sensitive information.
Some of the common ways your information is tracked include, through IP addresses, frequently visited accounts via devices, search history, cross-tracking, and cursor tracking software.
To boost your security and privacy online, you should stop tracking through the following steps:
- Change your privacy settings to disable location and GPS on mobile devices
- Use private Wi-Fi
- Disable tracking in your devices by setting “do not track” on your browsers.
- Deny sites the permission to save cookies.
- Install internet tracking blockers.
- Limit ad tracking.
- Disable Google’s location tracking
- Use private browsers on your mobile devices.
- Opt-out of ads (If unhelpful)
Always keep up with software updates
Keeping your software and systems updated is the best way of protecting privacy in the digital age. Making changes to your devices and accounts through simple updates will help you maintain privacy and security against third parties or cybercriminals’ attempts to gain access to your personal and sensitive data.
Outdated software poses a great risk to your security and privacy on the internet. Outdated software will expose you to risks such as unauthorized access to your data by cybercriminals, loss of data, and bugs.
Ensuring your software is updated will play an essential role in enhancing privacy by improving security, the addition of new features, and the better performance of your devices.
Safely update your software by downloading and installing updates from developers’ websites. Ensure your device has active and updated antivirus software.
Turn off personalization features
Turning off personalization features on mobile devices and computers is essential in protecting privacy in the digital age. Personalization features gather tone of information from your devices and pass it to Google and other third parties.
Turning off personalized features will enhance your privacy by stopping major tech companies from collecting data. You can do away with some of the personalization features by turning off web and app activity to stop applications from tracking and collecting your data.
Turn off YouTube History and Ad personalization to stop Google from sending personalized ads. Ensure you turn off all personalized features in devices and accounts to boost your privacy online.
Change passwords frequently
Changing passwords frequently comes with many benefits when it comes to digital security and privacy. Your devices and accounts store sensitive information that is often sought by hackers, cybercriminals, and third parties. Securing this data should be a priority.
To enhance privacy you should change your password regularly. You ensure you change your password at least once every 90 days to keep your accounts safe. Ensure you have unique passwords for every account. The password serves as the first line of defense against cyber breaches.
Changing passwords frequently will enable you limited unauthorized access to multiple accounts, limit the risk of frequent access by hackers, limit the use of saved passwords in case you lose your device, and limit access by keystroke loggers.
You can also change passwords any time you discover a security breach, detect unauthorized access, or phishing attempts, login in public places, and when you have not logged in to your account for a long time.