In a world where everything is increasingly interconnected, finding privacy is harder than ever. We have online security tools like 2-step verification, VPNs, or anonymizing browsers like Tor, but chances are you probably aren't utilizing all the available security tools.
Online surveillance and data leaks are becoming a standard run-of-the-mill events for our time on the web, but they can be incredibly dangerous—or at least, intrusive.
Even if you think you don't have anything to hide, you can probably agree that you'd rather not have someone listening to your personal conversations if you could control it. Let's take a look at a few steps that you can take to increase your online security and data privacy.
2-step verification and password management
If you are using an online service that requires your password that also allows for two-step verification, you ought to be using it.
For those unfamiliar, it essentially means that inputting your password isn't enough anymore, but you also need to have access to one of your personal devices to verify the login. With the two-step verification method, not just anyone can log in to your online services, as it also has to be someone with access to your personal verification channel.
Now, this can be beaten, say, for example, if someone gained access to your iMessage account through a stolen or hacked MacBook. However, the two-step verification method makes it increasingly difficult to get into your account. At the end of the day, data security isn't making your data impossible to breach, but it makes your data harder to breach.
Another tool you should be using is a password managing service. This may sound strange though, after all, isn't having all of your passwords in one place, not the greatest idea? Well, yes, and no. Password storage services like Dashlane offer highly secured hashed and encrypted tools to store passwords. They're arguably safer than keeping all of your passwords on that sticky note in your desk drawer.
However, there's another benefit too. When you utilize online password managers, you are able to use longer and more complex passwords, simply because you don't have to commit them all to memory. This also allows you to use different passwords for every single online service. Having different passwords means that if one is compromised, only that one account becomes compromised, and it doesn't affect your entire online profile.
To recap, use a 2-step verification and a password manager.
Utilize a virtual private network
On the forefront, using a virtual private network or VPN sounds like something that is complicated and highly advanced. However, thanks to new services, that's no longer the case.
Companies like ExpressVPN or NordVPN have made utilizing a VPN for your online browsing activities as simple as clicking a few buttons. Even your grandma can do it... so to say.
But what is a VPN? Essentially, VPNs make it so that your computer isn't trackable or recognizable to others as you browse the web. When you don't use a VPN, everyone on the web with some technical skills can figure out your computer, your IP address, and your location. Utilizing a VPN randomizes and hides that information, as well as puts you in a totally separate place. You could be browsing the web on an iPhone in Toronto, which to everyone else on the web, you look like you're browsing on a PC in England. In other words, the VPN disguises the origin of your online information, of course, if you want it to.
VPNs are simple and powerful security tools.
Unfortunately, good VPNs aren't free. They are relatively affordable, though, at roughly $10 per month. They come with a significant amount of benefits too, some we've already mentioned.
- VPNs keep your computer and private information hidden
- Your data is encrypted, even when on the public internet
- VPNs allow you to experience the internet as if you were in a different place, like watching British Netflix or Australian YouTube
- It protects your data from targeted ads, meaning that you won't get intrusive advertising across your web experience.
So, if you're looking to have better online security and minimize your exposure to data breaches, you should:
- Enable 2-step verification
- Use a password management tool
- Install and use a VPN
With these simple steps, you'll make it harder than ever to have your data stolen and used against you.