As time passes, the challenges of keeping your data private and protected are getting more complicated. Data breaches keep happening, and the year 2017 was no exception when Yahoo, Uber, and Equifax experienced substantial data breaches. It left consumers exposed to the threat of misuse of their data shared with these platforms. At the same time, marketers and internet service providers kept intruding into the privacy of users trying to make use of every opportunity to monetize the personal details. Users are always under the surveillance of internet service providers who maintain a database of users browsing history.
Privacy should be a priority for users
Users have to be highly sensitive in protecting their online privacy, and whenever you are setting up a new gadget or signing up for an online service, you have to ensure that your privacy remains well protected. Get familiar with some specific settings on your device and deploy adequate password protection that not only protects your online entity from hackers but also put brakes on the erosion of digital privacy when you share information with some technology companies knowing that they are free to use in their ways. Be careful when responding to the queries of social media companies and retailers as they ask for volunteering information because you are not obliged to reply to every question.
The convenience of mobile apps might lure you to install a variety of apps on your device, which is not a problem unless you allow the software to access too much personal information that could risk your digital security. Although privacy settings might protect your data to a considerable extent, all-around protection would remain elusive. That happens especially when you use the services of internet service providers without which you cannot access the internet.
Internet surfing poses a threat to privacy
Every time you browse the internet, there is a sense of uneasiness stemming from concerns about privacy. The internet does allow seamless communication with various websites, but it comes at a cost for users. They have to accept the fact that they are under the constant watch of internet service providers. When you are surfing the internet, the internet service provider or broadband provider is in complete control of your browsing history. All your activities on the internet are recorded, and the broadband provider is at liberty to sell your browsing history to advertisers. The issues of privacy had raised a storm at the US Congress that attempted to bring in changes to the online privacy rules to compel broadband providers to seek user’s permission before they could sell their browsing history to advertisers.
Unfortunately, President Trump repealed the proposed change in online privacy rules in April 2017, and the privacy of users remains a big concern. To overcome the problem, users have just one option available to them – to register with a VPN service that could protect user identity from the prying eyes of broadband providers. VPN or Virtual Private Network has been in use for quite long but now with the failed legislation about online privacy; it is likely to gather steam. When you subscribe to a VPN service, the internet service provider would not be able to view your identity and hence not able to access your browsing history that can be a lucrative business for them.
To know more about how you can boost your online security and digital privacy, follow the strategies discussed in this article.
Keep the software up to date
The software of your mobile device or computer is the target of hackers, and for protecting your device from cyber attacks, the best solution is to keep the software up to date. Software manufacturers are always enhancing the security features for patching security vulnerabilities and by updating you ensure that software has the latest security features. After every update, check your digital privacy settings to be sure that nothing has changed after the upgrade took place. You can do this by looking at the System Preferences menu or by going to settings. Adopt the same approach not only for the devices but also for the accessories like baby monitors, security cameras, and routers that you are using.
Secure the password with two-factor authentication
Gone are the days when a single layer of password protection was enough to thwart hackers. They have become smarter, and you need to outsmart them by using two-factor authentication. It would ensure that hackers cannot do any harm by just knowing the password. When you secure your account with two-factor authentication, the password provides the primary protection, and the secondary protection comes from the use of additional proof of ID before allowing access to the device.
As you would find in most online transactions, the service provider asks for a secondary check even after you have logged in to prove that you are the real person. It could be in the form of sending a one-time password (OTP) to your registered device and only on entering the OTP will the system allow you to go ahead.
Use a Password Manager
Keeping passwords safe is the responsibility of users, and the best way of doing it is to use a Password Manager. By installing a Password Manager, you are creating a virtual vault in which you create and store all sensitive and complicated passwords for all online accounts. To access the Password Manager, use a simple password that is easy to remember. Do not ever make the mistake of writing it down somewhere which can be your undoing. Password Managers help to generate new passwords that are highly effective but also easy to remember, and these are typically very hard to hack. Change all old passwords as soon as you start using the Password Manager by accessing individual accounts and making the changes manually as you cannot do it automatically.
The modality of surfing the internet
If you look at the way you access the internet with the help of an internet service provider, you will observe that the ISP helps to divert the traffic of your device to any destination of your choice. Without the services of ISP, you cannot browse the internet. Every device has an identity of its own for browsing, and this is the IP address of the device. When you are browsing the web, the internet service provider can not only see your IP address but also the websites that you visit. Your entire browsing history is within their reach which they diligently preserve. It means you have nothing to hide from the internet service provider when browsing the internet and this can be very annoying. The ISP keeps surveillance on your internet activities.
VPN ensures complete privacy while surfing the internet
To protect your privacy from the eyes of internet service providers, you have to eliminate their direct interface with you. To do this, you have to use a VPN service that would shield your identity from the internet service providers without affecting your browsing experience. For using VPN, you have to install VPN software on your device which connects you to the VPN server through which you can connect to the internet service provider’s server.
You are using the VPN service provider’s internet connection for browsing the internet without interacting with the server of the ISP. Even if the ISP wants to monitor your web traffic, it would only be able to view the VPN’s server and its IP address. Your IP address would never come to the fore. The VPN forms encrypted tunnels through which traffic and communication flow in a secure environment and your personal browsing history remains out of bounds for internet service providers. Refer to websites that become your Fastest VPN Guide – Your Source for All Things VPN to select the most convenient service package.
Use public networks confidently
VPN is especially useful when you are accessing public Wi-Fi at a hotel café or airport when you are not sure about the credibility of the service as it is unfamiliar to you. You are confident that the service provider would not be able to access any of your personal information nor monitor your online activities. You can even use VPN to conceal your actual location. Also if you are in Belgium, the VPN can make it appear as if you are accessing the internet from Germany.
When selecting a VPN service provider, be careful to assess the internet speed available because VPNs can often slow down internet speeds. Check the infrastructure of the company that provides VPN service to get an idea about internet speed. Moreover, VPN can be costly as compared to the charges of internet service providers since you are availing an exclusive service that is much more secure and protected.
However, you might have to make some compromise for using VPN because some services like Netflix are averse to stream through VPN and block it. That might not matter because you have achieved your objective of protecting privacy.