Online Privacy: Who is Spying on You and How Can You Protect Yourself?
We all know it exists, and perhaps some of you reading this have been affected by a breach, but do you really know about all the threats that can intrude your online privacy?
You’re a target. We all are, and you need to take steps and precautions to protect yourself. You need to stop leaving the door wide open.
Privacy threats at home
Home Wi-Fi Routers are easily hacked. You should never ever surf over an unsecured network. You’re just waving in hackers while your network sits there naked.
Your ISP knows all. They are constantly collecting information and know every site you visit. This information could be handed over to the government and/or law enforcement.
Someone can take over your network, and start messaging as you across various channels. Needless to say, this could be extremely damaging.
Work is no safe haven
If you don’t know it by now you should. Every move you make online is likely being tracked by an employer tracking software. If you attempt to reach a site and it is blocked, don’t try it again. If you’re personal device is accessing the company Wi-Fi network you are not safe. Employers can spy on your internet use even when using your personal devices.
Use your head and assume that someone is watching your every click at work. Keep your internet use to work related research and activity.
Coffee shops are a breeding ground for hackers
Starbucks, McDonald’s, and just about every other food chain now offers Wi-Fi connection. Ah, a latte and some surfing, heaven. Beware that this might be were your most susceptible to online intrusion.
Hackers eavesdrop on these locations as 88% of public Wi-Fi hotspots were found to be insecure. Avoid doing your banking at these locations along with access any sensitive information that you wouldn’t want in others hands.
How can you protect yourself?
1. Use an antivirus program and make sure you update – This seems elementary, but not everyone is using an antivirus program. It is a must. Also, make sure you stay up to date with your OS system updates. Many times they’ll include patches that make your computer more secure.
2. Don’t share so much information – The internet and social networks have become a sharing kingdom. That doesn’t mean sharing your home alarm system code with Joe from Wichita because he’s a cool guy. Be very careful what you share online and who you share it with.
3. Use a VPN Service – This is a Virtual Private Network and basically is a secure tunnel that will keep many away.
4. Create strong passwords – Please shy away from using “abc12345” or alike as your password. This is akin to leaving the key under the mat. Oh, thank you I’ll come right inside. You need to mix it up and use multiple characters. Stay away from birthdays, phone numbers, etc.
5. Manage your cookies – Cookies leave a fingerprint and track your online activities. Be sure to remove unwanted cookies on a regular basis.