Hackers may infiltrate your devices through malware, hacking or physical access to your device. In some cases, local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), advertisers, or government agencies from around the world may track your online activity. You must therefore take effective steps to safeguard your privacy and data security. Even when choosing a document scanning company to digitize your sensitive files, make sure that they adhere to standard file transfer and data security policies.
There are plenty of tools and methods available that can protect your online activities from prying eyes. Let us consider some of these options.
Protecting Your Smartphone from Being Tracked
- Download applications only from trusted sources.
- Check the reviews and ratings of an application and do a Google search of the developer of the app before downloading it. This will help avoid getting infected by spyware that may be lurking in the Google Play Store and iOS App store.
- Pay attention to permission requests from already installed applications, as some applications may request suspicious permissions such as access to Google accounts, credentials, and your contact list.
- Your phone’s operating system and applications should stay up to date with the latest security patches.
- Disable your GPS or Bluetooth if not needed.
- Never try to plug a phone into a non-trusted PC, as it may contain malware that could latch onto your smartphone.
- Refrain from storing business documents on smartphones.
- Factory reset your mobile at least three times, even when selling your used phone.
- Always use end-to-end encryption for online communications. Some of The best encrypted messaging apps you can use today are WhatsApp, Viber, LINE Signal – Private Messenger and Telegram.
- Never download third-party applications on your phone such as extra filters to Instagram, emoticons etc.
- Download VPN (virtual private networks) applications to stay safe and secure. Several free or trial VPN apps are available on the Google Play Store and iOS App store that can help people keep their online footprint safe and secure. Some of them are TunnelBear, NordVPN, Psiphon, and Tor Browser.
Protecting Your E-mail
- Never try to open attachments or links from unknown senders, even if the email address appears genuine.
- Avoid sending personal data in an email, such as your address, phone number, passwords, or account numbers.
- Always use email encryption to protect the content from being read by entities other than the intended recipients. Some of the protocols for email encryption include Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) and Bitmessage.
- Create disposable email addresses to throw unscrupulous third-parties off of your trail. Sites for creating disposable email addresses include Mailinator, Guerrilla Mail, 10 Minute Mail and Fake Mail Generator.
- There are several end-to-end encrypted email services available for all those non-techies. These include ProtonMail, CounterMail, Hushmail, Mailfence, and Tutanota.
Protecting Passwords from Unauthorized Access
- Try to make your passwords complex with a minimum of 10 characters and never create passwords based on a dictionary
- Use different passwords for different accounts and avoid writing them down on paper.
- Enable multiple factor authentication, password, and One Time Password (OTP) to protect your password.
Protecting Your PC and Browsing
- Never click on suspicious links. However, if you want to safely open a suspicious file, install a virtual machine (VM) and open suspect files inside of a virtual machine to prevent unintended breaches of privacy. It is a good idea to protect all of your websites with HTTPS, even if you do not handle sensitive communications. HTTPS prohibits intruders from interfering with the communications between your websites and your users’ browsers.
- Scan files and links before downloading or clicking on them. There are many online tools available that can help you scan your website against malware. Some of them are Quttera, SUCURI, SiteGuarding, Virus Total etc.
- Avoid using any free antivirus; instead, install antimalware software provided by a reputable antivirus company.
- Never make purchases from random websites; instead, use only trusted ones.
- Deactivate Macros in regular Word or Excel documents, if not needed.
- Go through your computer’s automatic security and regular updates to keep it up-to-date with the latest software.
- Check if your configuration is leaking your DNS information. Using DNS leaktest.com you can determine whether your DNS requests are being leaked, which may represent a critical privacy threat.
- Enable private browsing.
- Block third-party cookies in the browser to stop some types of tracking by advertisers.
- Enable “Do not Track”, a web browser setting that requests that a web application disable its tracking of an individual user.
- Disable WebRTC that reveals the true IP address of a user.
- Never try to open attachments or links from unknown senders on social media or unknown profiles.
Following these tips and tools can help protect your privacy online. To ensure security and privacy when utilizing outsourced solutions ensure that your provider has excellent data security and QA policies.