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Guidelines for Protecting Your Online Privacy

Wordpress securityIn this day and age, people are not only accessing the internet on their laptops and desktops, but also using tablets, smartphones and other portable devices. Unfortunately, the increasing use of the internet has also resulted in more cases of cyber crime. As a result, it is very important to find ways of protecting yourself as you use the internet. Here are some great tips for safeguarding your online privacy:

1. Hide your IP address

Your IP address can be viewed as your fingerprint which you leave everywhere you go online. When visiting other websites, someone can easily track you through your IP address. Therefore, if you want to conceal your identity when browsing, you could think of using web proxies such as Tor or HideMyAss. These proxies allow you to hide your prints regardless of which site you visit. Another advantage of using such proxies is that you can easily access which have been blocked by your internet service provider.

2. Switch on private browsing

Many sites capture IP addresses of computers using technologies such as cookies, with the intention of gathering information about the online activities of visitors. This enables them to understand the behaviors of their visitors, and thus offer more personalized and optimized services. However, some dubious sites will even sell such ‘digital profiles’ to third parties for marketing research, often without the consent of the individual. Due to such privacy violations, leading web browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer have included a ‘private browsing’ option in their features. This prevents other sites from storing cookies, as well as accessing temporary internet files and browsing history in your computer or mobile device. Switching to the ‘private browsing’ mode is therefore one of the most effective ways of protecting your privacy online.

3. Stay updated on privacy policies

Many sites have privacy policies where they mention what kind of information they will collect from visitors and how it will be used. Since such policies are usually long documents with a lot of technical terms, many people tend to ignore them. This is a mistake that can prove to be detrimental in the long run. The fact that a site has a privacy policy does not guarantee your protection. In some cases, the policy is just a disclaimer that will protect the site in case the user’s privacy is violated. Therefore, it is very important to read and understand privacy policies, especially on sites where you buy products from and any other site you are thinking of joining. In addition, you should stay updated on any changes in the privacy policy.

4. Beware of open Wi-Fi hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots have become very popular with internet users all over the world. However, the problem with such hotspots is that they don’t have any encryption. This means anyone within your zone can easily intercept the information you are transmitting online such as emails, bank accounts and passwords. The situation can be made even direr if all your online accounts use the same password. The best way of protecting yourself from hackers is to avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi connections in public spots such as libraries, hotels and cafes. If you have to use such facilities, be sure to turn off file sharing on your computer or device. Avoid visiting sites which will require you to login. If you must use emails, be sure to encrypt them with TSL (Transport Layer Security) or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).

These are just a few guidelines for protecting your online privacy. What measures do you use to safeguard yourself? Let us know in the comments section below.

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