For as much as some things change, other things stay the same.
Some may say that there really isn’t any difference between the last few years and 2019 when it comes to protecting your online data, and that may be true. At least when it comes to the methods of protection.
So why the article, you ask? For a few reasons. First, with each passing year, hackers are leveling up in terms of the quantity and the sophistication of their techniques. The other reason is service providers come and go. And service providers are leveling up on their ability to offer protection against those who are out to rob you of your privacy. At least they should be.
Tips on How to Protect Your Online Data
1.Use a VPN
In my opinion, this one can’t be stressed enough, so it goes to the top of the list.
VPNs don’t offer blanket protection, but they do go a long way in protecting our online data and securing our privacy. They allow us to browse without anyone spying on our activity. Every time we log online, someone is collecting data on us, so using a VPN can curb that to a great extent.
There are a number of great VPNs to choose from, but as I mentioned above, I like to use companies that stay up to date. Make sure you do your due diligence and check reviews, but here’s a starting point: https://vpnpro.com/vpn-reviews/expressvpn-review/.
2.Use Strong Passwords
This cannot be emphasized enough! Partially because there is still a ridiculous amount of people using weak passwords. Things like the last four digits of a phone number or a date of birth. It’s like they’re inviting someone to break into their literal and/or virtual worlds.
Go for long string passwords that don’t contain any actual words. So, no, hotdog123 isn’t a good password. You want something long and jumbled, and it should contain letters, numbers and special characters—if special characters are allowed.
Once you’ve done that, make sure you use a unique password for each site you sign-up at.
3.Use a Password Manager
If you’re like me, you have a ton of passwords.
How do you keep track of all those impossible—for most of us—long string passwords? Please tell me you don’t have a pad of paper in your drawer with a list of them.
Maybe you have them listed in a password protected Excel spreadsheet? For some, this might be a passable solution. But it’s still not recommended. Excel wasn’t created to excel at security. And it doesn’t.
Your best alternative is a password manager, and there are free and paid options. Some are much more sophisticated than others, so determine your needs.
More passwords we recommend using this tool: https://passwordsgenerator.net/
4.Use a Secure Email Provider
If your emails are limited to things like recipes to your mom—because that’s as techy as she’s ever going to get—then this is probably overkill. However, if you send any kind of sensitive info at all, you should be thinking about using the services of a secure provider.
First, not all free/popular email providers are secure. Or at least as secure as you might want them to be. Others could be collecting data from your email.
A secure provider means your emails are encrypted from end to end, and they will keep you and your personal information anonymous. Some even go to the point of deleting your message after a certain amount of time.