The internet is a wonderful place, but it's also a dangerous one. There are countless ways your personal information can be exposed and used against you, and even more ways that hackers can get into your accounts and steal your data.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself online. While it may feel like an invasion of privacy to have so much information about yourself available on the internet, this article will show you how to opt out of having some of it—and how to protect what little we all have left!
The difference between public and private information online is simple: Public data can be viewed by anyone who has access to it, while private data is only accessible if someone knows what they're looking for (or has physical access to the device).
Any kind of personally-identifiable information—like your name and phone number—is considered "private," but depending on where it was posted online, it could still be considered public.
You can't opt out of the internet. But you can take steps to protect your privacy. There's no way to avoid digital footprints, but you can limit access to those prints. You can control what information you share with others and what information you make public by controlling what you post about yourself and which apps have access to your personal data.
Your friends and family (and even strangers) can post information about you online, and it's impossible to control this. The good news is that you have more control over what you post than you may think.
Searching for yourself online is a good way to see what information about you is available. You can do this by using a search engine like Google, Bing, DuckDukckGo etc. You can also try searching for your phone number or address, or even just your birthday!
How frequently has it happened to you to forget your password or, even worse, to use the same password to access multiple websites and social media platforms out there? Use a strong password, and change it whenever you log into a new website or program. These advices are always good.
Use a password manager to keep your passwords safe. A password manager allows you to store all of your online credentials in one place.
The software can generate strong, unique passwords for every website or app you use and store them behind a single “master key," which is only available to you. This keeps your data safe because if someone were to get hold of one of your accounts, they wouldn't be able to access the others.
If you don't already have a password manager installed on the device(s) that house all of your most critical accounts (like banking), now's the time! Make sure that your master key is complex and memorable. Ideally, it should be over 12 characters long and include a mix of numbers and symbols.
Once you've set up your password manager on all of your devices, import all of your current login information into it so you can start using it right away.
Digital intimacy is a lot like physical intimacy. You have to be careful about what information you share online because it can be used against you. For example, if your identity is stolen and someone tries to use your credit card, the bank may ask for proof of ID. If they don't get it from you, they will look for it on social media accounts that are linked with the credit card account being used.
Your digital trail can also make things difficult if there is an emergency in which law enforcement needs to get in touch with you quickly; they will likely check social media first before calling or knocking on doors in person (and this could cause even more problems).
Being careful about what information you share online is part of maintaining digital intimacy—the same way being careful about what physical information we share with others helps us maintain physical intimacy!
Digital intimacy is more difficult when you are in a long distance relationship because there is no physical touch to help reinforce feelings of closeness. In these cases, it’s important for both people in the relationship not only maintain their own privacy settings but also keep an eye on the other person’s accounts so you know what they are sharing with others.
Limit what you put online. Be careful about what information you share online and with whom. Be cautious when using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
We hope this post has helped you understand the importance of digital security, and how to take steps toward protecting yourself online. It's important to remember that when it comes to your privacy, there's no such thing as perfect safety.
With so many people out there trying to get access to your data, sometimes even just using common sense won't be enough. But by following the advice we've outlined here, you can make sure that others don't take advantage of your good intentions!