8 data privacy habits to practice to protect your personal information | Media Pyro


Did you know that every time you visit a website, you leave your digital footprint?

Just as physical footprints can be tracked, your digital footprints can lead to unauthorized access to your online data and expose you to cyber threats. You must maintain the confidentiality of your personal data. But how?

Keep reading as we discuss some important safety habits for online privacy.

Social networks thrive on sharing data. Yes, it’s designed so you can share your data, but don’t do it at your expense. While sharing data on social media is also considered an exercise of your right to freedom of expression, you need to be careful about what you share.

Refrain from providing personal and confidential information about yourself. Some internet users have been victims of blackmail and even identity theft because of what they have shared on social media. Defining and limiting what you share is a proactive step in the right direction to keep your data private and secure.

2. Manage your privacy settings

The vast majority of Internet users are guilty of neglecting the privacy settings of web applications.

Internet browsers and social media networks allow you to customize and personalize your privacy settings, helping you control what you share and what other people see about you.

Managing your privacy settings not only provides security, but also provides control. This gives you the advantage of limiting who sees information about you and what type of information they see. With cyber theft on the rise, you need to manage the amount of personal information the public has access to.

3. Protect your accounts with strong passwords

Your password is a personally created access key that provides authorized access to your data. This way, anyone who knows your password automatically has access to your personal data.

The easier your password is, the easier it is for other people to guess it, exposing you to cyber threats.

Creating strong passwords is a proactive online security habit you need to develop. One easy way to create strong passwords is to not limit the characteristics that make up your password to just letters or numbers.

A strong password contains letters, numbers, and even symbols. For example, / – > !. You can also increase it by using a combination of upper and lower case letters. This makes your password hard to guess and keeps your data private.

4. Only accept essential cookies on websites

There is almost no website these days that you won’t see an “Accept Website Cookies” pop-up when you visit. You have the option to accept or reject cookies.

Website cookies help a website collect information about a user to help the site tailor the user’s experience when they return to the site. As such, website cookies are a form of electronic survey tool.

Unlike the world-famous Danish cookie, website cookies are digital, which means they’re far from edible. Website cookies are a compilation of small pieces of data belonging to website users. These pieces of data are stored in the web browser and can be retrieved by the website at any time.

It is important to decide which cookies to accept and which to deny in order to maintain the privacy of your data. Because once these cookies are illegally accessed, all the data stored in them is automatically compromised. You need to get into the habit of only accepting cookies from websites that you can verify.

5. Be careful when interacting with programs

As the modern saying goes, “The Internet never forgets,” one must be careful not to reveal more than necessary when interacting in apps.

When you share too much information on social media apps, you open yourself up to stalking, tracking, mugging, and kidnapping. There have been cases where online users have become victims of attackers due to the sharing of sensitive information in applications. So, you need to be careful about the levels and extent of your interaction with these programs.

6. Check the previously marked items when registering for services

Many online users ignore the pre-checked boxes and click “Accept”, not knowing that they have given the website access to their personal data.

For example, when you try to sign up for a Gmail account, you’ll see a pre-checked box asking you to allow the website to save your password. If unchecked, your password is automatically stored on the website and if the website’s cyber security is breached, your password and data stored in Gmail will be compromised.

When visiting public sites, watch for pre-labeled call-to-action buttons. You should be aware of the consequences of choosing the preset option and make sure that the website is at least verifiable.

7. Use encrypted messaging apps

Using encrypted messaging apps gives you a much higher security advantage compared to individuals sending messages from unencrypted apps.

Encrypted messaging protects your data from unauthorized third-party hackers, thereby deterring digital eavesdropping. This guarantees your security and pays special attention to the privacy of your data. Encrypted apps keep your data safe and prevent your data from being accessed, monitored, or even obtained without your consent. Messaging apps like WhatsApp, ThreeMa and Signal offer the most secure end-to-end encryption.

Double-checking links or URLs before clicking on them is an important online safety habit, especially in this day and age where cyber attacks are common.

Double-checking a link before clicking is an effective preventative measure that protects your data from being compromised and hacked through malicious links. Malicious links are created solely to wreak digital havoc. People use them for advertising scams, hacking and cyber attacks.

Clicking on random links is a dangerous way to browse the web. This is the most reliable way to prevent problems with malware, viruses, spyware and ransomware.

Ransomware takes control of an infected computer and restricts access to its original owner, who may be forced to pay a ransom to regain access to their data.

Once a computer system or device is infected with malware, personal information such as passwords to various accounts, bank details and sensitive files can be accessed and obtained by unauthorized individuals.

Attackers use viruses to disable systems and spyware to monitor real-time digital activity on an infected system. If your system is infected with any of these, you will be in a lot of trouble, and a surefire way to avoid this is to double-check links and uploaded files before clicking on them, or avoid clicking on an unsafe link altogether.

Developing safe online habits is in your best interest

Being proactive about your data privacy and security is the way to go. You can start by being mindful when interacting online.

Data rules the world; that’s why individuals and corporate organizations around the world spend heavily to ensure the privacy and security of their data.

Cultivating these internet safety habits innately enables you to look before you leap and think before you click when surfing the web. Protecting yourself online is your responsibility.


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