Protecting Your Privacy Online: Things To Consider

website security

Protect your privacy online

Cyber hackers and security threats

Protecting your privacy online is a critical area of concern for many individuals, especially when using a credit card. If you are worried about how much of your private information is online and vulnerable to theft, you’re not alone. Online has become an extensive playground for cyber hackers and security threats because users are increasingly sharing their private information online. Protecting your privacy online an important issue. How can you know that your private information is safe online? Knowing how to protect your website and yourself while online will ensure that your private data is kept private.

All e-commerce websites require you to put in your credit card information, which potentially compromises data and allows hackers to get your information. How sure are you that your information is safe with the domain that you are using?

There are ways to protect your personal information while still enjoying much of what the web has to offer. In this article, we shall consider basic things you need to know so that your financial and personal information is protected while you visit your favorite sites. Get to know the main goals of hacking and tips on how to evaluate website security.

There are various goals when hacking websites, but the main ones are:

  • Exploiting site visitors.
  • Stealing information stored on the server.
  • Tricking bots and crawlers (black-hat SEO).
  • Abusing server resources.
  • Pure hooliganism (defacement).
  1. Protecting your privacy online means not sharing  everything about yourself on social media

A smart way to protecting your privacy online is by not sharing everything about you on social media. Providing too much information on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram could make it easier for cybercriminals to obtain identifying information. This could allow them to steal your identity or to access your financial information.

For example, could an identity thief determine your date of birth, spouse’s name, information of your children, your location, travel plans, or your mother’s maiden name from your Facebook account? This information is sometimes used as security questions to change passwords on financial accounts.

Unfortunately, many people don’t take this advice. In a 2018 study, the Identity Theft Resource Centre found that approximately 52 percent of respondents shared personal information through social media sites. To protect your online privacy, ignore the “About Me” fields in your social media profiles. You don’t have to let people know what year or where your hometown is located— which could make you an easier target for identity theft. You might want to limit who can view your posts to those you’ve personally invited.

Create strong passwords, too, for your social media profiles to help prevent others from logging into them in your name. This means using a combination of at least 12 numbers, special characters, and upper- and lower-case letters. And never use personal, easy-to-guess information — such as your birthdate as your password.

  1. Look out for legitimate Domain

One of the most basic steps in checking the security of the website you’re visiting is taking a look at the URL. Many people fail to look up the URL of the website, especially if they’re already reading the content on the page. Others may give it only a basic glance–and if it looks right, they’re convinced. However, one of the most common scams simply mimics the existing content. The scam site copies the content exactly as it appears on the original page—aside from a few key details.

In many cases, phishing sites use a very similar URL to the original. For example, instead of http://www.ebay.com, it may appear as http[:]//www.ebay.com. The simple addition allows scammers to convince gullible individuals that they’re visiting the site they thought they should be on. As a result, they simply hand over their credit card information without hesitation. It’s important, therefore, that you take the time to carefully check over the URL before making a purchase.

The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secured.” Websites with this simple logo indicate that they’re transferring information through an encrypted network. Not every site offers the secure technology of an HTTPS lock. If you don’t see the lock icon on the site you’re looking at, it means that HTTPS security isn’t working or that the site doesn’t offer that secure connection. And you most likely should take your shopping elsewhere.

  1. Browse in incognito or private mode

If you don’t want your computer to save your browsing history, temporary internet files, or cookies, do your web surfing in private mode.

Web browsers today offer their own versions of this form of privacy protection. In Chrome, it’s called Incognito Mode. Firefox calls its setting Private Browsing, and Internet Explorer uses the name InPrivate Browsing for its privacy feature. When you search with these modes turned on, others won’t be able to trace your browsing history from your computer.

But these private modes aren’t completely private. When you’re searching in incognito or private mode, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can still see your browsing activity. If you are searching on a company computer, so can your employer. The websites you visit can also track you.

So, yes, incognito browsing does have certain benefits. But it’s far from the only tool available to help you maintain your privacy while online.

  1. Browse with other search engines

If you’re like many web surfers, you rely heavily on Google as your search engine. But you don’t have to. Protecting your privacy online is one reason people prefer to use anonymous search engines. This type of search engine doesn’t collect or share your search history or clicks. Anonymous search engines can also block ad trackers on the websites you visit.

  1. Switch to a virtual private network

A virtual private network (VPN) protects your privacy online by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your Internet Protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable.

Using a VPN is especially important when you’re on public Wi-Fi at a library, coffee shop, or other public location. A VPN will make it more difficult for cybercriminals to breach your online privacy and access your personal information.

You can find many free VPN solutions, but if you want maximum privacy, pay for the service from a trusted security provider.

  1. Don’t click on just anything

One of the ways in which hackers compromise your online privacy is through phishing attempts. In phishing, scammers try to trick you into providing valuable financial or personal information. They’ll often do this by sending fake emails that appear to be from banks or credit card providers. Often, these emails say you must click on a link to verify your financial information otherwise you risk your account getting frozen or closed.

Don’t fall for these scams. If you click on a phishing link, you could be taken to a spoofed webpage that looks like the homepage of your bank. But when you enter your account information, you’ll be sending it to the scammers behind the phishing attempt. Before clicking on suspicious links, hover your cursor over the link to view the destination URL. If it doesn’t match the financial website you use, don’t click. If you receive such an email, immediately log a complaint to your bank.

  1. Security Seals

Most eCommerce websites understand the critical importance of securing traffic to make their visitors safer. As a result, they frequently work with security providers to ensure they’re providing the highest possible level of website security. Each website security provider offers a scan seal or security seal option that can be viewed by users. Usually, this is in the form of an Iframe that can be placed on the protected website, letting visitors know that the website is credible. Any time you visit a new website for your shopping needs, take the time to check out its security seal.

  1. Use strong passwords for your mobile phones

Many of us spend more time surfing the web, and watching videos on our smartphones than we do on our laptops. It’s important, then, to put as much effort into protecting our online privacy on our phones as on our computers.

To start, make sure to use passwords to lock your phone. It might seem like a hassle to enter a code every time you want to access your phone’s home screen. But this password could offer an extra layer of protection if your phone is lost or stolen. Make sure your password is complex. Don’t use your birthdate, your house number, or any other code that thieves might be able to guess.

Use caution when downloading apps. Some games and productivity tools could come embedded with dangerous viruses. Only buy games from legitimate sources. Don’t ignore software updates, either. These updates often include important protections against the latest viruses. If you continue to ignore them, you could be leaving your smartphone’s operating system and programs vulnerable to attack.

  1. Use quality antivirus software

Finally, always install antivirus software on all your devices. This software can keep hackers from remotely accessing your personal and financial information, and tracking your location. And once you install this software, frequently update your antivirus protection.

Do you want to know more about protecting your privacy online whiles having fun on your favourite sites? Do you want to have your website thoroughly checked for malware, suspicious activity, or want to know more about the threats we check for and how that information can benefit you, your website–or the websites that you’re visiting–contact us here.

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