How to protect your sensitive data while browsing online / Digital Information World
Did you know that you can make yourself completely invisible? No, not literally invisible. We are not wizards here. Instead, we talk about digital invisibility. It is an online hack to keep your data and personal information away from hackers, scammers and unscrupulous “market investigators”.
And you don’t have to be a tech genius. It’s actually simple: just follow the latest advice from VPN provider and online privacy expert Surfshark.
He has created several guides how to become invisible online while using popular web browsers, social media applications and gaming platforms.
Let’s take back control of our data.
Why online security is important
Hackers are always on the lookout for sensitive data that they can sell or exploit.
They hack around 30,000 websites a day and breach around 22 billion data records every year. Scary.
And they’re not going to stop anytime soon. In fact, the problem is only getting worse. 2021 saw a 92.7% increase in malware and malicious email attacks, and 2022 is on track to be a record year for cyberattacks and data theft.
What happens when hackers get your data?
Identity and data theft causes a world of pain. You’ll spend weeks, months, or even years cleaning up the mess.
With your passwords and sensitive information, fraudsters can apply for credit cards, loans and mortgages.
They can gamble your savings or use them to buy tons of cryptocurrency, which is then transferred to untraceable wallets and addresses.
They can open bank accounts in your name and use them to launder money, leaving you in hot water with law enforcement and government agencies.
They can target friends and relatives, including your children.
And, in some cases, fraudsters use your data to threaten and blackmail.
Getting hacked isn’t bad; it’s awful.
But nobody’s data isn’t really safe anymore, is it?
Almost everyone uses – and needs – the Internet to some extent these days. It can sometimes seem like our whole life is online and we have no choice but to risk having our data passed on.
Many have completely given up on keeping it safe.
According to a study by Surfshark, more than 60% of people in the United States believe they can no longer live without companies sucking up their data.
Up to 1 in 3 people (33%) are unaware of data protection and online privacy rules.
And more than 8 in 10 people believe they are powerless when deciding who can collect their data and what kind of data they can collect.
But there is a solution.
What does going dark mean?
“Going dark” means making yourself completely invisible online without deleting all your accounts, then staying off the internet forever.
Think of it as your digital invisibility cloak – or a superpower to evade those evil hackers and scammers.
Selecting stealth or incognito is the fastest way to surf online without leaving a large digital footprint. But, unfortunately, stealth mode isn’t all that “stealth” and clicking incognito isn’t the digital equivalent of a vanishing act.
Either way, the ISPs and websites you connect to will continue to track and store some of your data. And if they can do it, so can those dastardly hackers.
Become anonymous on popular web browsers
Here are some additional tips to protect your privacy on popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox:
- Disable tracking data to prevent browsers from knowing where you are.
- Block third-party cookies to prevent browsers from tracking every site and page you visit
- Restrict web tracking permissions
- Opt out of personalized ads
- Prevent browsers from sending your data to their parent companies, like Google and Microsoft
Securing your social networks
Social media is about sharing, but some things are best kept private. And we’re not talking about your Aunt Sue’s late-night Facebook rants. We are talking about your sensitive information; hackers looking to steal.
Here’s Surfshark’s guide to managing personal data on all the most popular social media apps, including Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
Stay safe on communication apps
WhatsApp has upped its privacy game by introducing end-to-end messaging encryption. But there are things you can do to protect yourself even further (more), like limiting who can see you online and turning off the live location feature.
You can enforce privacy settings on all communication apps downloaded to your phone. The infographics below from SurfShark will show you how…
Invisibility mode: sinking with online games
Staying safe while gaming online is a major concern, especially for parents of young children.
But Discord, Twitch, Steam, Xbox.com, and Roblox all have privacy and security settings to protect contact information, locations, and contact settings. You just need to know where to find them.
And Surfshark can point you in the right direction…
Reset your smartphone’s operating system
It doesn’t matter if you’re on Team Android or Team Apple; both use underlying software with adjustable privacy security settings.
With just a few clicks and swipes, you can block ad and email tracking, set messages to auto-delete, and stop location tracking. You can also turn off some really scary data features, like face recognition ID and fingerprint unlock.
Hackers try to gain access to your computer every 39 seconds and legitimate applications are always looking for new ways to recover your data. Don’t make it easy for them. Protect yourself. Go black online.
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