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How You Can Start Protecting Your Digital Privacy

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A decade ago, privacy was something that was instantly just assumed to be given. People knew about cookies, but it wasn’t entirely understood how it all happened or what it all meant. Just that it simply meant you got specific ads catered to you. Nowadays, there are data brokers and data miners ready to steal information, and a lot of major social media companies have gotten into some major hot water because of privacy issues of users as well. 

Overall, privacy doesn’t feel like a right anymore but more like a privilege. Whether you’re an individual or own a business, it’s so important to protect your digital privacy. You wouldn’t leave your door unlocked and your windows open at night, so why leave yourself vulnerable online? Keep reading on to learn how you can protect your digital privacy online!

Start Off By Looking into Your Settings

Look into the settings of your phone, laptop, computer, email, and all the accounts you have; just look top to bottom if you can. Nearly all accounts, websites, and devices are going to let you have some type of control over your settings in some form or another. So make sure to look into these thoroughly. While they don’t provide complete protection, privacy settings can be a good place to start. 

They can limit the amount of personal information that’s shared with strangers and can make it harder for hackers to find out your location or other details. In addition, they can make it easier to delete information that you don’t want to be shared. Managing your privacy settings is an ongoing responsibility, and companies may regularly change them. That’s why you should take the time to review them on an ongoing basis. For example, many streaming devices and smart TVs have privacy settings that allow you to control how advertising data is used. These settings can help you avoid seeing targeted ads. This is small, but for the most part, you shouldn’t try to skip this whatsoever. This is going to massively help fight back against data brokers and even hackers. 

Use Strong Passwords

While this may be a very generic tip, it’s only one of the most important tips that users unfortunately still seem to mess up on. Having a strong password is one of the most important things you can do to protect your digital privacy. A good password should be long, hard to guess, and unique for each account. This makes it more difficult for hackers to access your accounts and steal your personal information. 

You should honestly take advantage of passwords on nearly anything from accounts, your phone, and access to other devices, but this could even extend to protect folders and files with a password as well. Overall, embrace this; while those long and challenging passwords can be a pain, they are so important to use. 

Keep Your Devices Up to Date

This is going to include all of your software as well if you’re able to update that as well. It’s not just about convenience, like making things easier to control, but in general, this is also about making your privacy online feel more protected.  Software updates fix security flaws, add new features and improve overall functionality. They’re important because they can help prevent cybercriminals from exploiting vulnerabilities to gain access to your devices.  You might get a pop-up notification telling you that your device needs a software update or even an entire system update. 

You might be tempted to ignore that message and click “Remind me later.” But the sooner you update your device, the better it will be for your digital privacy. And it might be worth it for the performance boosts you’ll get from it as well. You need to keep in mind that it’s not just about data brokers, but a lot of hackers and cybercriminals, in general, will try to steal people’s information to them sell on the dark web and black market overall. So keeping your devices up to date will seal up any potential security holes. 

Always Use a VPN

If you’re a big fan of YouTube content creators, then there’s a chance that you’re seeing all of those VPN ads from companies like NordVPN. At the same time, this might sound like some trendy useless thing for going online. Honestly, this is one of the greatest ways to keep yourself protected.  So, what exactly is a VPN?  A VPN is a service that hides your IP address and routes your internet traffic through a server in another location of your choosing.

 It’s a good way to protect your digital privacy and is especially useful if you are concerned about data brokers or miners. This keeps your information from being read by third parties such as your ISP, advertisers, or even governments. It also prevents companies from tracking your internet history and serving you ads based on where you live. It can make unwanted activity from third parties like cyber criminals or companies deter away and makes it harder for them to get your information. 

Try Not to Share Too Much Info Online

So, this may be hard, especially given the circumstances of what you’re signing up for. But when you’re able to, you should try to look into avoiding giving out too much information online if you can. It’s not even about sharing with strangers online. Sure, there is the obvious not having your full name online on social media if you can avoid it (except for LinkedIn maybe), but it still goes beyond that. If you want to play it very carefully, just try not to give out too much information online, that includes your likes, where you live, your personality, and maybe even photos of what you look like as well. You don’t have to feel obligated to put all of this information out there. 

Overall, it just takes a lot of steps and a lot of work to protect your digital privacy, but it’s honestly so worth doing all of this. You’re protecting yourself, and you’re helping yourself stay safe online by doing this. 

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