While you may think your personal information is actually personal, you’d be surprised how much information about you winds up online.

Whether you’re worried about identity theft or you just don’t like the idea of other people tracking your every move, there are steps you can take to keep your private data private.

 

Keep your computer safe from viruses

Digital security has a lot to do with digital privacy. If your computer is infected by a virus or malware, not only can hackers dig through your data to steal your identity, but they may lock up your files and ask for a ransom to get them back. The solution? Run an antivirus program to watch for viruses, and keep your other software up to date to close security holes. This applies not only to your computer but your mobile devices as well.

Remember, using a free anti-virus is better than using none. Avast or AVG are good choices , also make sure to keep your software updated with the latest security patches.

Don’t fall for scams.

Beware of websites, phone calls and emails that try to part you from your personal information. Scammers are getting better at mimicking legitimate businesses, so be on your guard and double check any web page that you are browsing. A common tactic with scammers is to pressure you into giving up your personal information by presenting dire consequences if you don’t. If a email seems sketchy, that may be the first clue its a phishing attempt made to get your private info. Try to never click links from unknown sources (a friends, emails or  questionable social media posts).

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Only use software you trust.

Whether you’re installing new software on your phone or your computer, make sure you’re getting it from a source you trust. Legitimate-looking software can sometimes turn out to be a complete scam, make sure anything you download comes from a trusted developer and a trusted source.

If any app permissions seem off, its better to not risk it and uninstall the app. “Game” wants to access your call history or camera? Better decline it.

Secure your browser.

Your browser is how you interact with the digital world, and if you aren’t careful, you could be leaving a trail of footprints behind you as you browse. Whether it’s websites and marketers tracking you or a hacker spying on what you’re doing, there are ways to keep your browsing habits private.

Your best bet it to always surf the internet in incognito mode, as it doesn’t save any files on your physical PC upon exiting the browser.To bet extra safer, delete cookies every now and then, as some may be used to track your location.

Password protect your files

You may not think it’s necessary to password-protect your home computer, but all your digital devices should be password-protected. That includes your computers, tablets, smartphones and anything other gadgets with personal data on them. If it’s unsecured by a password, a lost or stolen gadget is a source of personal information for whoever has it, which can lead to identity theft and worse.

The same applies to online accounts. Don’t be that guy that uses the same password for his 20 accounts, otherwise you are a easy target for file and account theft. Don’t use the same password for more than one site, because one hacked account could result in all your accounts being compromised.

Change the default passwords for anything connected to your home network. Your router is the most important device to secure because your router could give a hacker complete access to your home network. Don’t forget other connected devices.

Keep those 5 advices in mind when trying to secure your privacy in the online space and stay safe !

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