Maintaining Online Privacy – Top Ten Things to Avoid

online privacy

The Internet has made our lives much more convenient than they were a few decades ago. But, it’s no secret that it also comes with a long list of dangers all of us should be aware of so we can stay safe online. Here are the top ten things you should avoid to enhance your online privacy and security.

1. No Phone Lock Screen Protection

Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives and house a lot of our valuable data. Without any form of screen protection, all of this information would be at hand’s reach for anyone who can take physical control of your device for a couple of seconds. You should always have at least some protection in place, whether it’s a password, PIN code, or security pattern.

2. Not Having 2FA

Two-factor Authentication is a cybersecurity standard that’s quickly catching the wind in the online privacy and security community. It adds an extra security layer over your account, making it very hard for hackers to gain access. Many big IT companies and businesses have already implemented it in their services, so make sure to use this very beneficial security feature.

3. Recycling the Same Password

According to survey findings from a couple of years ago, an average online user has around eight or more online accounts. Understandably, remembering unique and complex passwords is challenging. It’s more convenient to go the easier route and use a couple of or just one password for all of your accounts. 

But, if a hacker gets ahold of that one password, all of your online accounts will be compromised. If you have trouble remembering all of the unique passwords for each account, consider using a reliable password manager, as it will help make your life significantly easier.

4. Not Using an Antivirus

While you don’t have to cash out a monthly subscription for a top-tier antivirus program, not having any antivirus on your device is one of the biggest cybersecurity mistakes you can make. Many antiviruses and antimalware tools are available entirely for free. Do a bit of research and install a trustworthy program to keep your data and online privacy safe from malicious threats.

5. Ignoring Software Update

Software updates are very annoying, and it seems like they always pop up at the most inconvenient time. But, even though they seem like a general nuisance, you should always keep your apps and programs up to date. Doing so will allow the apps to detect and deal with any malicious threats, especially new ones. You can do so manually or set the apps to update automatically, so you don’t even need to think about keeping up to date with the latest upgrades. 

6. Downloading Files From Unknown Sites

Most of us dabble into the pirate waters from time to time when we want to watch a movie or play a game we don’t feel like paying for at that time. If you fall into this category, be careful of which sites you use to download content. Opening attachments or even just accessing pirate sites you’ve not heard of before is a quick way to infect your device with malware.

7. Using a Weak Password

Even in 2021, the most common passwords among online users who experienced a cybersecurity breach include “123456”, “qwerty”, or just the word “password” with a couple of numbers added at the end. Don’t let yourself get into the same trouble for such an easily avoidable mistake. Make sure you use a strong password that will keep you safe from anyone attempting to access your valuable information.

8. Using a Weak Wi-Fi Password

In line with the previous tip, using a weak Wi-Fi password could open up all of the devices in your household to hacking. If a malicious hacker manages to get into your home network, he’ll have free access to everything you do through it, including your sensitive personal and financial details. To avoid this, use a strong password or a phrase only you’ll know.

9. Agreeing on T&Cs Without Reading Them

Ok, this is a thing most of us are guilty of regularly doing. Reading pages of boring and monotonous Terms and Conditions is a real pain in the neck, but it can save you from a lot of trouble in the future. If you install software, app, or accept a service without reading the terms, you may be giving the company unrestricted access to your valuable information without even knowing it.

10. Not Using a VPN (Especially on Public Networks)

We’ve talked about the dangers of using public Wi-Fi unprotected many times before. A public Wi-Fi network allows anyone to join and, more worryingly, access all of the information that goes through it. The best way to protect your online privacy against this is to use a VPN service. It will help encrypt your data and keep you safe from any prying eyes trying to access your information.