Keeping Your Privacy Intact Online

Privacy used to be a huge concern for people before the advent of the internet. But now, with social media websites springing up left and right, long privacy pages, and retailers becoming subtle with privacy collection, it’s very easy to give your privacy up without realizing it. This is a very dangerous phenomenon and it’s important to be mindful of where this happens.

In this blog post, we are going to cover everything you need to know about keeping your privacy intact online. So, let’s take a look at some tips and pieces of advice to help you remain as safe as possible. 

Choose third parties with care

More and more people are working from home today. We have also seen people set up e-stores alongside their traditional businesses to try and make some extra funds. Either way, you need to make sure that you choose third parties with care and consideration. A lot of people think they can simply put the responsibility on the shoulders of the company in question. However, this is not the case. If a third party provides a service for you, you will still be held responsible if they do not handle data in a safe and secure manner.

A good example of this is live chat. More and more people are outsourcing live chat for their websites today. Personal information tends to be exchanged via live chat. This is why it is imperative to make sure that you have an incredibly secure platform and a responsible business handling this for you. Visit this website to see a great example of the level of service you should be looking for when investing in this type of addition for your website. 

Understand the different ways you give up personal information online 

1) Loyalty Cards

 Every time you head to the till of a supermarket or retailer, you are prompted by the staff assistant if you wish to have a loyalty card if you don’t own one already. You can decline, but you’ll often be lured in by savings discounts and freebies. There doesn’t seem to be any catch and it works out for you in the long term, so you generally say yes. However, what these companies don’t tell you is that they can now track all your future spending in their shops. This includes both the online and offline world, which helps them build a profile of you and when you like to shop. They can also sell this data off to third parties if they so wish.

 2) Public Wi-Fi

 That free internet you get when you head to McDonald’s or quickly use in Morrisons actually does come with a price. Since you’re using companies’ networks, they can easily follow your online footprint and help build a better picture of you for their consumer records. Public Wi-Fi is an unsecured network and very easy for hackers to break into, which means criminals can easily access your data too. A good way to solve this issue would be with a VPN, which is an encrypted network that helps secure your presence when online.

3) Social Media Websites

 Social media has become such a norm that many people don’t worry about privacy issues anymore. It’s very easy to forget that nothing is ever fully deleted online, especially if you have a public profile. Public profiles are especially useful for outsider companies, who use these details to build a picture of you and their general target audience. And although social media sites themselves claim to not abuse your data, the terms and conditions on many popular social media websites do admit that they can use your data how they want. This is normally restricted for advertising, but your data can also be sold to third-party users as well. In addition, there is a risk of outsider companies attempting to hack these websites in order to secure user information, such as the Cambridge Analytica. This particular famous scandal harvested 50+ million Facebook accounts for elections and created targeted ads to make users vote for certain candidates or positions.

 4) Smart Devices

Get your self a rent to own laptops no credit check for the perfect Smart device Many homes have smart devices now, from walking trackers such as Fitbit to virtual assistants like Alexa. Fitbit collects mountains of data from its users, including their sleeping habits. This is all used for marketing purposes and sometimes sold too. Alexa has the protentional to know even more about your life, depending on how many devices you connect it to. If you collect Alexa to your lighting, radio, television, laptop, etc. – Amazon now has all this data about you. Other smart devices include smart meters, which read your electricity usage. This again gets sent out to companies to be exploited.

 5) GPS

 Whether you use your mobile phone, a Satnav, or a GPS navigator built into your car – you are being tracked. Some companies would claim it’s for innocent purposes, such as being able to display proper geo-located Snapchat filters or to show your friends where you are. Other businesses say that it is necessary so that their navigators can direct you accurately to your destination in real-time. And although this is all very handy, your data is once again used and abused. The companies will know where you are at all times – which governments want to be able to use – and they can use this information however they like. It is usually used for marketing purposes, but once again can be sold off to third parties. Again, these companies can be hacked too, so criminals will easily be able to find out where you are at all times.

 It’s very easy to forget just how vulnerable your privacy is nowadays, especially online. This isn’t your fault, though, companies and governments are purposely trying to keep this knowledge on the down low so that they can exploit it for themselves. But now that you know how companies can take your data without you realizing it, you can protect yourself from any further security issues.

Use a range of different security methods to protect your online actions

There is no magic formula or one size fits all solution when it comes to protecting yourself online. If there was, it would be easy and we would not need to have this discussion. Instead, you need to adopt a multi-layered approach when it comes to protecting yourself online. This is the only way to give yourself the best chance of protecting your actions and ensuring you do not become the victim of a data breach or identity theft.

A good place to start is by installing a firewall and anti-virus software. Aside from this, you should make sure that your information is encrypted whenever you communicate online. A VPN can also be incredibly helpful. A VPN will mask your IP Address. This will mean that people are not able to see your location or where you are accessing a website from. 

In addition to this, it is important to make sure that you are cautious whenever you do anything online. Do not open emails unless you know the sender. Do not open any attachments that you are unsure about either. Phishing is one of the most common approaches used by cyber criminals today. They use extremely sophisticated techniques to make sure that their emails appear to come from legitimate sources, such as popular retail companies or bank accounts. Therefore, you always need to be careful. Make sure you look at the sender’s email address carefully. Often, there will be only one letter that is different from the official email address or they may have cleverly put the official email address in the subject line to try and trick you. This is why it is imperative to make sure you assess the email in full. You should also never give out personal information via email or live chat either. Always act with supreme caution. The privacy laws that are in place today mean that businesses are not allowed to probe you to give away your personal data or to engage in any way that you do not feel comfortable. You can ask for companies to send an official letter if you are unsure. Remember, you will never be asked to reveal a password in full; it will only ever be one or two characters, and do not keep repeating different characters – it could be someone trying to guess your password in full.

Final words on keeping your privacy intact online

As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered when it comes to keeping your privacy intact online today. All individuals need to make a dedicated effort to keep their online identities protected. After all, it seems that a day does not go by without some sort of hack occurring. The last thing you want is for your personal information or finances to be compromised, and that is why you need to brush up on your online privacy game. We hope that the tips and advice we have provided above will assist you with this.


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