Tips to Protect Your Digital Privacy
How do you feel safe? A camera installed at the entrance to the building? Alarm in the car? Walls and fences? We need certain protections to feel safe. In the digital universe, it is no different, to protect our information and maintain our privacy we need certain tools.
A VPN protects our location, encrypted chat applications ensure that our conversations will hardly be leaked and incognito browsing gives us the feeling that we are not being seen digitally. While total privacy is virtually unreachable when it comes to the Internet, there are simple ways to protect our information in the digital age. However, our data, our responsibilities.
In some cases, very simple actions can prevent third parties from having access to your device data and online service accounts. From the adoption of a password to unlock your cell phone, for example, to the complete encryption of your device. In this article, I'll show you some initiatives that will get you back in control of who has access to your data.
# 1 Protect Your Accounts
In the past, having a password or two for all online services was enough, however, today, with the great demand for digital products, our passwords need to be varied and with a much greater degree of complexity. So forget birth dates or sequences like "123456".
Our suggestion is to use a password manager. Two very popular services are LastPass and 1Password, both available for Android and iOS. This applications can generate complex passwords, monitor accounts, suggest weak password changes, and synchronize passwords between other devices.
The setup process is simple, and after making the necessary adjustments, you no longer have to worry about future changes. The most important thing here is of course to create a strong password to use these applications, otherwise we lose all sense of use of these tools.
A second way to protect your accounts, such as emails and chat chats, is through 2-step authentication. Google and Facebook offer this kind of protection, WhatsApp and Telegram as well. So, whenever possible, enable this extra layer of security. This type of tool makes you have more control over your accounts.
# 2 Keep your device software up-to-date
Updated software means security. Just as there are people and companies working on more complex protection systems, there are those who work in the opposite direction, that is, to break such systems. Soon, computers, modems and cell phones with outdated software are easy targets for intrusion.
Apple, Microsoft, Google and any company in the area of application development send security packages monthly to users, or less regularly, but as part of a major upgrade. These packages, in addition to enhancing the functions and interface of the system, also add new and more effective layers of security, which are usually much better than anti-virus software.
If you are using an Apple iPhone, you can enable automatic updates under Settings> General> Software Update. On Google's Android, security updates are available by opening Settings> System> Advanced> System Update (which may change according to the manufacturer of your smartphone).
To update the apps on your smartphone, visit the Google Play Store on Android or the App Store on iOS. This way you can update all applications with update pending at the same time. Create a weekly scanning routine for updates to the applications installed on your device. The same goes for the browser on your computer.
# 3 Protect your web browsing
If you want privacy in the digital environment, the first thing is to care about your browsing data. Each ad, social networking button and website collects information about your location, your browsing habits and more. So even if you do not share private issues on your social networks, by tracking your digital habits, it is possible for companies to create a profile of you and start dictating what you consume.
Our tip here is to use softwares that block ads and data collection. I personally use the Brave browser, and when I need to open Chrome, I have activated an extension to block advertising, the popular Ad Blocker. Apple already offers this kind of feature enabled in the Safari browser.
That way, you're limiting that third parties have easy access to your web browsing data.
And if you want to manually configure some of the services like Amazon, Netflix, Google, Facebook and others, not to collect data about you, you can always access the settings of these platforms and "disable" (opt out) such enabled by default settings. The "Simple Opt Out" channel gives a nice help in this sense, as it brings together a shortcut to multi-platform configurations where you can do this quickly. The site is in English, but it is easy to understand.
Using a virtual private network, known as a VPN, can be a good option as well. This suggestion is especially welcome to those who use public Wi-Fi networks. VPNs add a layer of security to your browsing when HTTPS is not available.
As I said at the beginning of this article, VPNs also serve to give your ISP more privacy and help minimize tracking based on your IP address. However, it must be said that your web activity will go through the VPN provider's servers. So choose a secure service, preferably paid. However, if you want to start using a free VPN, our team has created a list of the best free VPNs, check here.
Of course, it is not enough to just use the security and privacy tools that are available to us, we also need to create an awareness of protection in the digital environment. Therefore, always suspect links in emails, messengers and social media promising free discounts and services. When using a service on your mobile phone, such as online banking, not the password field in public or even while connected to a public network. Small actions can prevent major headaches.
Another behavior that you should avoid when it comes to digital privacy is linking your Facebook, Spotify or Instagram accounts to use third-party services. These three social networks store many of your habits, and by linking one to other platforms, rest assured, you're being analyzed.
Integrate these tools into your everyday life and create a routine of safe habits on the web, so you will be in control of your digital privacy.