How To Take Back Your Internet Privacy In 2020
More than 90% of Americans have concerns when it comes to the information businesses are collecting about them without their permission.
Data is the new oil. As businesses find new ways to derive value from customer information, it becomes more tempting for such firms to access this information unscrupulously. Therefore, you need to learn how to protect your privacy to avoid inadvertently giving away your data.
Keep reading for an in-depth look at some ways you can bolster your internet privacy in 2020.
1. Isolate Electronic Payments
If buying things online is vital for you, then you will likely need to consolidate the tools you use for that.
When it comes to email, it’s not an excellent idea to make online purchases using different emails. Instead, you should open one email account that will be fully dedicated to online purchases.
Try not to use this email for any other purpose as that exposes it to more of your services, which increases the breach radius.
The same approach also applies if you decide to make online payments using a bank card. The safest bet is to get a credit that’s purely for making online payments.
A credit card is more suitable than a debit card because it is not directly connected to your bank account, unlike the latter. Therefore, in the event a malicious actor does gain control of it, they can't exploit it beyond the set limit or use it to access your account.
Moreover, in case you do notice any suspicious payments on your credit card statement, it’s easier to dispute them. Things become much harder when you are trying to resolve fraudulent payments on a debit card, as that will involve seeking refunds to your account.
A pro tip for using credit cards to shop online is to get a one-time card. As the name suggests, these are credit cards designed specifically for shopping online and of which you can use only once.
But what about those who prefer not to use any bank card for online payment?
Substituting your card for a secure electronic payment option like Apple Pay and PayPal helps you build an extra layer that enhances your privacy.
2. Contain Your Digital Footprint
One of the best things you can ever do for your online privacy is to track and manage your digital footprint.
There are two types of digital footprints to beware of. Passive footprints are those you leave behind without any intention of doing so. Active footprints, on the other hand, are those you willingly leave behind, for example, through a social media post.
If there is any social media service you no longer use, you will need to close it. When you follow social media services, they contain valid information that a malicious actor can use to violate your privacy.
For any active social media accounts, you should be wary of who you share personal information with.
Since your privacy also intersects with your reputation, you can’t forget to see what others see about you on the internet. Run your name and variations of it when it's misspelled in several search engines.
Do you like what you see on the first three pages of results?
If there is anything you feel violates your privacy, contact the administrator of the site to have it taken down.
3. Watch Your Browser Behavior
Without knowing it, you leave a lot of high-value information on your browser that someone can use to breach your privacy.
Whenever you go on the internet using a browser, you should clear your activity once you are done. If you are using a public computer, this is of the utmost importance as you can’t control who accesses it.
There are tools available (like this one: https://setapp.com/how-to/delete-recent-searches) to help you clear browser history to prevent you from inadvertently giving someone unauthorized access to your data.
Additionally, you can make it a default to use a browser while it is in private mode. No information will get logged that another person can access once you are done.
Safe browser etiquette also extends to auto-fill services that store your password and credit card information for future use. While this makes your user experience better, you will need to ensure that the data is protected.
Otherwise, a malicious actor who accesses your machine can use the same convenience to breach your privacy.
4. Practice Safe Password Behavior
The way you use passwords has a significant impact on your internet privacy. As a result, you need to combine several safe password practices to bolster your digital privacy.
As a rule of thumb, you should not use weak passwords. A strong password is one that has a minimum of eight characters, consisting of letters (both upper and lower case), numerals, and symbols.
The longer and more complex the password, the harder it is to crack.
Your passwords should also be as random as possible to avoid someone making accurate guesses. Any password that uses your birthday, address, or such other predictable information will make for weak credentials that can threaten your privacy.
If you find coming up with strong passwords is challenging, you can use a password generator. These tools will create random passwords with a character mix that makes them harder to decipher.
But how do you remember these random passwords if they are complex and unique for each platform?
Well, that’s where a password manager comes in.
It turns out that for many people, the difficulty is not in creating robust passwords as much as keeping track of all of them. Consequently, many people prefer using a password that is easy to recall on different platforms.
When you use a password, your job becomes infinitely more manageable as you only need to recall one password, which is the master password. Thus, it becomes more natural for you to use robust passwords by default without recycling them.
Reclaim Your Internet Privacy in 2020
Many firms are scrambling for customer data to gain a competitive advantage. In the race to monetize insights gleaned from customer information, not all companies seek to acquire such data legitimately. You should, therefore, learn technical and behavioral tactics that can help you improve your internet privacy in 2020.
Are you concerned about staying safe while on the internet? Check out more of our content for tips and tricks to help you control your data online.