Privacy 101 – The Ultimate Privacy Guide

Privacy 101 – The Ultimate Privacy Guide

Are you using a digital device? Android or iPhone? Is it secure? Does it ensure your privacy? With the increased use of instruments, concerns and doubts have also increased. We must know how to avoid getting in trouble due to these devices. Therefore, knowing what features these devices offer for our protection is essential.

Everyone has their mobile phones and therefore prefers their levels of privacy. Since the use has increased, more personal information is stored on smartphones. From contact details, passwords, emails, and credit card details. Although it is easy to use your mobile for various services, including online payments, it has raised many security concerns and recorded millions of hacking, malicious, and theft stories. Daily, many news reports narrate tremendous theft stories or how people are being blackmailed. It has been excellent attention for hackers, who manipulate your personal information for a significant amount of money.

Most concerning things about online usage according to Internet users.

Since security concerns have increased at a very high rate globally, government agencies have been very active in observing the internet activity of their citizens to control any illegal activities. National security is every country’s priority. Therefore each government designs more advanced rules to maintain high levels of security. This includes monitoring internet activity or allowing specific content to be delivered to its populations. That means surveillance in public places is being stored and can be used by the government.

In recent years, iPhone has been considered a more secure system than an Android. Firstly it has a robust analysis before it allows applications to enter the application store. Secondly, end-to-end encryption helps protect your data from being monitored by unwanted parties. It enables only the sender and receiver to know about the data exchanged; companies cannot access it. But, hackers may hack an endpoint that is one of the devices, company’s servers, or internet system.

online users in the US took action to be more secure online as of May 2018

Secure Your Devices (mobile phones/tablets)

Secure Your Devices (mobile phones/tablets)

All devices come with their in-built security functions, but loopholes may still question a device’s security level with technological advancements. These few steps can also enhance your security on your mobile phones.

You Must Turn Off Fingerprint Phone Unlock

Fingerprint ID and Face ID are on hype these days. No stranger can open your mobile phone without you. But what if someone attacks you and forces you to unlock your phone with just a fingerprint or face ID? It will be an easy attack. Also, research is now showing that hackers can use fake fingerprints to hack your mobile.

According to legal rules, federal agents have the right to force you to unlock your mobile phone with your fingerprints, while they don’t have the right to move you to use the password to open it. Better change your security locks to passwords and pins.

Mobile Browser Security

The most common browser everyone is using are Chrome and Firefox. Many other companies are offering more secure internet browsing. People also use private browsers, which cannot be considered entirely safe. A secure browser must erase your information as soon as you close the tabs, erase the history of your internet activity, and delete passwords.

Also, note your applications. Because before an application installs, it needs to get a few permissions from the user to access your phone’s features or data, including your camera, contacts, and photos. You don’t know how they use that information. Firefox extensions like uBlock Origin, HTTPS Everywhere, and Self-Destructing Cookies can be used on mobile devices.

Use Strong, Unique Passwords

Setting up a strong password can also be a helpful step. Most phones have a four-digit password option. Use custom numeric codes to make your mobile more secure. Android offers many opportunities for locking your mobile, i.e., swipe, password, and pin. The most recommended option is the password since swipes or patterns are easily identified. Make sure your password is strong, don’t keep a number that can be guessed very quickly, like your date of birth, etc.

Set Up 2F Authentication on Apps

Making an extra effort to make your mobile more secure is always recommendable. This enables you to make multi-steps after entering a password to log in to the given account. There are different options for this. You can get a code via text message or email. It is harder for people to access their devices or online passwords.

Share of Online users in the US who use two-factor authentication.

Using a PC/Laptop? These Recommendations Will Be Relpful

Using a PC/Laptop? These Recommendations Will Be Relpful

How can you use a computer to ensure security?

Since every system has prioritized maintaining secure systems because the more secure a system is, the more loyal customers it will have. They are also in constant struggle resolve security concerns. Therefore there are regular updates. Making sure your mobile is up to date can significantly reduce attacks. Using ad-blockers is also very helpful as they prevent installing tracking cookies and questionable content that may enter through mobile.

Encrypt Your Local Files, Folders, and Drives

Also, ensure your computer is fully encrypted; Windows and Mac have easy encryption options. And don’t upload your encryption keys to the cloud. It can be manipulated.

Data brokers are websites that crawl your web and record your personal information, and post on online platforms. Your personal information can be traded for millions. However, few websites can help you delete the online information available to these companies.

Encryption tools encode data that makes the unblock with a specific key as it gets harder to access. Such devices are used to protect data such as email addresses and passwords.

  • 128-bit encryption is used to encode data on a routine basis a,nd in some places, 2,56-bit encryption is used to manage protection for sensitive data.
  • Ciphers perform encryption with mathematics. The common ciphers used today are OpenVPN like AES.

Secure Your Text Messages

Secure Your Text Messages

After you have made your devices secure, it is essential to secure your SMS and calls. According to most laws, your SMS and calls can be wiretapped to get detailed information like your personality, circle, etc. There are a few apps that can help you limit this also. But, emails couldn’t be made secure yet.

Some applications can help you encrypt your messages. You can also customize these applications to encrypt some specific contacts.

Facebook and WhatsApp use some major protocols to protect your messages and are considered safe, which means Facebook and WhatsApp cannot access your messages. But still, backing up on cloud services can ruin your privacy. Backups on the cloud can be accessed through search warrants, and it can be accessed whom you are communicating with and at what time.

Apple’s messages are also made secure with end-to-end encryption. But since the other party’s encryption level is not confirmed, it may be questioned. Backups on iCloud can also be enforced to be used during the investigation. A local encrypted backup on your iPhone and IPad can help restore your data if it breaks.

Anonymize Your Internet

Anonymize Your Internet

You can also use alternatives to Google:

Google offers an extensive range of web-based services. But, in the internet world, it is like taking free stuff at the cost of giving your information. Google also may take your information and store it.

Browsing is the most common activity on mobile phones, but here’s how people may get involved in your browsing. Ad networks may track your workout as you hop from one site to another to learn about your interests. Your internet provider can also log pages you visit, and hackers will try to target you, mainly for a monetary benefit.

Which of these measures do you take wiaboutnline privacy?

You can be easily tracked by Google AdSense, YouTube, or any other service owned by Google. Using Private Search Engines that are privacy-friendly can help you avoid this. They don’t gather information about you. The following suggestions can be among good options:

  • DuckDuckGo
  • Search Encrypt
  • Start Page

Please don’t leave your mobile unattended; they have a higher chance of getting hacked since you cannot control who may use it. Also, don’t keep sensitive information like your passwords in cloud services.

Use the Tor browser with a VPN

Use the Tor browser with a VPN

The Onion Router is an open network. It is free software. You can use Tor Browser with Tor disabled can be suitable for protecting you. It helps by protecting you against browser fingerprinting; the browser’s default (saved) settings play their role. It also blends in, and other Tor browser users should be utilized along with a good VPN service to ensure maximum protection.

Block ads, malware, adware, trackers, phishing

As highlighted earlier, advertisement companies are on top of the list to monitor your activity. More than 900,000 ads contain malware, most of which can install harmful software and virus onto your device. Ads popping on your screen are the most accessible hooks to steal your data and activity on the internet. The following suggestions can help you protect against block ads, malware, adware, etc.

Add Some Browser Add-ons

The recommended Firefox browser add-ons include uBlock Origin, uMatrix, CanvasBlocker, and Privacy Badger. One point to note is that all add-ons don’t work for all browsers.

Use a VPN

By using a VPN, you can not only encrypt the data through secure tunnels but also, with its exclusive feature, you can integrate an advertisement/tracking filter. Popular VPNs have ad-blocking built in their applications, including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access.

Plug an eBlocker

It’s a small box plugged into a router and offers blanket protection without additional software installation. Online privacy can be enhanced by adding a VPN.

Use a Safe VPN

Use a Safe VPN

VPN is a Virtual Private Network that uses encryption technologies and creates tunnels between the sender and the receiver. Many VPNs have different features to suit a client’s specific needs. Some effective protocols a VPN uses include IP security, Layer 2 Tunneling (L2TP), and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). You can use a reliable VPN to secure your devices and protect your privacy. VPNs are designed to be easy to use for customers. They also enable you to access content blocked by geographic restrictions. Since there are so many VPNs in the market, choosing the best ones may be challenging. They may also vary in functionality for Android and Mac OS versions and payment bundles.

VPN set up across the world is very expensive. Free VPNs may seem relaxing, but they may not be secure enough. Instead of making your experience safe, they may manipulate you by recording your activity and selling it to third parties. Some VPNs may also steal your bandwidth, hijack your browser, or leak your IP addresses. Some VPNs may allow only a tiny amount as a sample to check if it fits your requirement. Later, they charge their user.

Therefore, choosing a budget-friendly VPN that suits your activity is always preferable. Install a VPN with an ad-blocker, ensure it offers leak protection and clears your logs.

Also Read: Best VPN for Windows

Secure Your Router

Internet routers have different configuring settings. You can ensure your internet connection is secure in many ways. You can change the router login and password. Set passwords with WPA2 encryption rather than WEP; it is easy to be attacked by hackers. Also, disable the WPS. Pins are easier to break, but setting a password is a better way to protect your router.

Internet Service Provider can monitor as well as record everything you do. There may be chances of selling this to strangers. Installing a VPN will be an excellent help to secure your routers.

Secure Your Email

Email is a widely used means to communicate across all mediums. We share a picture, personal information, and essential documents. But we aren’t sure about how much secure it will be. Email accounts are the easiest to be hacked and can be accessed by agencies anytime. There are a few steps that are essential to take to make sure your email is safe.

Use a Strong Password

Compose it of mixed letters and numbers, do not use a common and complete word. A combination of punctuation, symbols, and lower and capital letters will make a strong password. Many sites have the option of questions; choose difficult questions.

Use a Secure Email Service

A secure email service should have strong encryption like Secure Socket Layers (SSL). A web address with ‘HTTPS’ is more secure than ‘HTTP.’ Google is using advanced services that make them safe. End-to-end email encryption should enable only the receiver to decrypt the relevant email. A PGP encryption is a secure way to secure your emails. It is not easy to use and requires participation from both.

Email Encryption

It is a complex procedure, but you should encrypt your emails if you are a tech person.

Secure (or delete) your social media

Secure (or delete) your social media

96% of people don’t trust social media to protect their privacy. Although the advancements in the latest mobile features, including face recognition, tracking, and monitoring, seem to enhance your security, they arthreatenour privacy.

The simplest solution is to delete your social media accounts, especially those that may harm your privacy. In case you need them, then you must follow the following steps to maintain your privacy:

  • De-indexing your social media accounts, so they don’t appear in search engines like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Delete your photos, locations, and private information.
  • Using stricter privacy settings can also enhance your privacy.

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Syed Humza Hussain is an IT student completing his degree in computer studies; He is working at CriticInfo as a Publishing Manager.

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