While the Internet can sometimes seem like a jungle of a million different threats, you can take steps to protect your privacy. Here are some easy, free, and quick ways to keep yourself safe.
Protect your accounts
Over the past decade, data breaches and password leaks have hit companies like Equifax, Facebook, Home Depot, Marriott, Target, Yahoo, and many more. If you have online accounts, hackers have likely stolen data from at least one of them. Want to know which of your accounts have been compromised? Find your email address on Have I Been Pwned? to link your email address to hundreds of data breaches.
Every user should use a password manager to generate and remember different, complex passwords for every account—this is the most important thing people can do today to protect their privacy and security. Many tools are good at managing your passwords, such as LastPass and 1Password. Both can generate passwords, monitor accounts for security breaches, suggest changing weak passwords, and sync your passwords between your computer and phone. When you sign in to your account, the password manager saves and prompts you to change weak or duplicate passwords. You will receive new passwords for most of your accounts within a couple of weeks. Take the time to also change the default passwords for any devices in your home – if your home router or security cameras still use “password” or “1234”, change them now!
Everyone should also use two-step verification for their online accounts whenever possible. Most banks and major social networks provide this option. As the name suggests, two-step verification requires two steps: entering a password and entering a number that only you can access. For example, the first step is to log into Facebook with your username and password. In the second step, Facebook sends you a temporary code in a text message, or better yet, through an app like Google Authenticator, and you enter that code to sign in.
Using a signal jammer
The U.S army firstly used signal jammer during the Gulf war. But they are widely used by security companies nowadays. As you know, all of the clients of such companies are rich guys, and they are serious about their privacy. When they are having a private meeting or business negotiation, their security consultant will use a signal jammer to block all phone signals within certain meters. That’s the best solution to prevent digital criminals from hacking into participants’ smartphones and recording everything about the conversation.
The signal jammers work like a noise signal generator. They will emit many noise signals when activated to disrupt the mobile signals. That way, the signal transmission between the phone and the cell tower will be blocked. All the mobile phones within the jammer’s coverage will no longer be able to make a call. And today’s signal jammers can block mobile phone signals and disrupt the wifi network. Wifi jammer blocks the wifi signals by emitting the interference signals against the routers, so your phone, tablet, or computer will lose internet access within the wifi jammer’s coverage.
Protect your web browsing
Companies and websites track everything you do online. Every ad, social media button, and the website collects information about your location, browsing habits, and more. The collected data reveals more about you than you might expect. You may think you’re smart for never tweeting about your medical issues or sharing all of your religious beliefs on Facebook, for example. Still, chances are the websites you visit regularly provide all the data. Needed by advertisers to determine exactly what kind of person you are. This partly explains why targeted advertising remains one of the most disturbing innovations on the Internet.
Many websites offer ways to opt-out of data collection, but you need to do it manually. The simple opt-out contains links to unsubscribe instructions for major sites such as Netflix, Reddit, and more. This will not eliminate the problem but significantly reduce the amount of data collected.
You should also install the HTTPS Everywhere extension. HTTPS Everywhere automatically redirects you to a secure version of a site; if the site supports it, this will make life very difficult for an attacker – especially if you use public wifi in a cafe, airport, or hotel – digital eavesdropping is specially developed there.
Some people may want to use a virtual private network (VPN), but this is not necessary for everyone. If you frequently connect to public Wi-Fi, a VPN is useful because it adds a layer of security to your browsing when HTTPS is unavailable. It can also provide privacy from your ISP and help minimize tracking based on your IP address. But all your internet activity still goes through the VPN provider’s servers, so when using a VPN, you prefer to trust that company over your ISP, not to store or sell your data. First, make sure you understand the pros and cons of your decision.
Use antivirus software on your computer: privacy comes first.
Viruses may not seem as common as they were ten years ago, but they still exist. Malicious software on your computer can cause all sorts of havoc, from annoying pop-ups to sneaky bitcoin mining and personal scanning information. If you risk clicking on dangerous links or sharing a computer with several family members, it is worth installing antivirus software, especially on Windows computers.
If your PC runs Windows 10, you should use Microsoft’s built-in software, Windows Defender. Windows Defender offers a lot of security for most people and is the main antivirus option. If you’re using an older version of Windows (although we recommend upgrading to Windows 10) or using a shared PC, you may need to install additional software.
Mac users generally agree with the security of macOS, especially if you only download software from the Apple App Store and stick to well-known browser extensions. You should generally avoid antivirus apps on your phone and stick to downloading trusted apps from official stores.