1. Keep Yourself Informed
When it comes to online privacy, you should always keep informed and remain vigilant. We live in increasingly dangerous times when it comes to personal privacy, identity protection and keeping sensitive data secure.
It is the responsibility of all us to keep abreast of the latest privacy laws and to know what our rights are and if those rights change.
Similarly, do not ignore media reports of data abuse, ransomware attacks, phishing attemps or notable data leaks. Read up to ascertain to whether you or anyone you care you about could be affected.
We have recently published our Guide to Keeping Yourself Safe Online, Protecting Your Identity and Managing Your Online Privacy in 2022 – check it out here.
2. Think About Using a VPN
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) will protect you and your personal information.
A VPN will also mask your physical location and prevent online trackers from harvesting data about you, your interests and your online activities.
If you need to get up to speed with what a VPN does, please check the many articles on this site. Remember, there are both free and paid VPNs and both have their pros and cons.
3. Keep Your Devices Protected From Malware
You have a choice as to whether or not you take your online privacy and protection seriously. Understand, that operating systems and applications have vulnerabilities and can be infected with malware.
Update your devices regularly by setting them to automatically check for system and app updates. Install them as they become available.
Run anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer, phone and tablets.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Wi-Fi Router
Home network protection should start with securing your home router.
Your router is the gateway that stands between everything inside your dwelling (the devices on your home network) and all the threats and dangers of the Internet just itching to get in.
Do not rely on your router’s default password! Change the password to your own (this really should not need to be said) and also reset its SSID (your routers name).
Cyber criminals search for known vulnerabilities in particular makes and models of routers and then look to exploit them. Changing your SSID makes this identification much harder for bad actors.
5. Choose Whether You Want Online Behavioral Advertising Or Not
Advertising powers the free Internet. It is the primary method that most websites and apps make money. Without advertising, many of the content and services we consume online could wither and die.
However, the most effective online advertising requires tracking your online behavior and interests in order to target you with relevant ad messages, based upon the types of sites you visit and the searches you make.
This is called online behaioral advertising (OBA) or interest-based advertising (IBA) and we have written about it here.
You have have the right to decide whether you wish to be targeted by advertising in this manner and what ad companies and data collection agencies can do so.