Top 5 tips to improve your online privacy!

Just imagine, someone could be watching you right now….

Unfortunately, that is a very possible occurrence and privacy is becoming an increasing concern for many people, and it should be. As more and more of our lives are being shared on the Internet, we are trusting more and more companies with our data.  The following tips should help you gain a bit more control over who has access to your data, and how your data is used.

1. Use a password manager

Almost all of us use the same password for all of our online services, making it very easy for a hacker to access lots of your information. A password manager generates random passwords for each of your online accounts, making it difficult for hackers in the event of one account being compromised. There are Windows/Mac applications that can do this, and also apps for Android and iOS. Make sure to use a trustworthy application though, as you may otherwise be giving all of your passwords away!

2. Use a VPN

Using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network allows for your data to be securely tunnelled to another location, usually a server somewhere in a data center that hosts hundreds of other peoples connections. This prevents any third parties accessing your data in between you and the VPN, such as ISPs. There are many VPN services that allow for easy encryption of your networking data, but from my research TunnelBear is the easiest to set up and comes with 500MB data a month for free (1GB altogether if you tweet about them). There are TunnelBear applications for PC, Mac, Android, iOS etc.

3. Regularly Clear Cookies

Almost all websites use Cookies in order to track your browsing habits, such as what is currently in your shopping basket, when you last logged in, etc. Some can be more obtrusive though, for example modifying prices because they know you have visited the same product before (this is increasingly common on flight and package holiday websites). Although you can use your browser to delete cookies, I recommend the use of CCleaner as the software also has many other useful tools.

4. Encrypt your devices

If you venture into the settings of most devices, you will probably find the option to encypt the device. This can mean different things but in general, it will encrypt your data and only unencrypt it when you provide a pass-code that you have provided. The level of security differs depending on the device. For example, on my Samsung device using Knox, my device will not even start up until I enter a pass-code.

5. Don’t use the internet

If you are seriously concerned about your privacy, just don’t use the internet at all! It is impossible to completely hide all of your online information against ISPs, legitimate companies and malicious people. Google is one of the worst companies in terms of tracking users data. How do you think that advertisement about lawnmowers appeared on that website right after you searched for gardening equipment? 😛

These are just a fraction of the precautions you should be taking if you want to increase your privacy online, which brings us to the question; can you be too safe online? Discuss in the comments below:

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