Online Security and Privacy Tips for the Novice
You don't need to be tech-savvy to be able to protect yourself online
4 min read
Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash
I do not think we need any introduction to this topic. You might already be familiar with the saying, 'once on the Internet, always on the Internet'. It is also known as digital permanence. However, keeping your data with yourself is not the only goal of this blog.
There are a lot of factors when it comes to staying safe online and here are a few of the most general tips for everyone.
Using a Temporary/Disposable Email Address
It is nothing new for companies and blogs to spam us with their promotional content. Most of the time it is on by default unless you know how to unsubscribe in the first place.
When you receive their mail, they will either put a very small unsubscribe button at the bottom or somewhere you cannot easily find or add a line that makes you feel guilty and ashamed of unsubscribing. An example could be, 'you do not want to get awesome content that makes your life better? unsubscribe'.
That is one reason why you should always keep a secondary email ready for any such purpose. Say you need to use your Email just to get access to some download, or OTP, do not use your primary email unless it is necessary. There are a lot of websites offering disposable emails for free but it is better to have one of your own (Gmail, Outlook, etc).
Say No to Unwanted Cookies
Here is what Google says about Cookies:
Cookies are small pieces of text sent to your browser by a website you visit. They help that website remember information about your visit, which can both make it easier to visit the site again and make the site more useful to you.
In simple terms, Cookies are used to track you and suggest personalized stuff which is both useful and scary if you think about it. Many websites offer a choice to users nowadays for which cookies they want to keep. You should not ignore that popup just like any other Ad. Deny all cookies permissions except the ones necessary to keep the website functioning properly.
Use Apps like AdGuard
AdGuard is one of those apps that help you block Ads and avoid trackers. You should check out their website here, and then some alternatives like NextDNS, etc. These help you both get rid of annoying popups, trackers, Ads, and are available on multiple devices.
Think Twice Before Posting Anything
This goes without saying, you cannot be more careful. You never know when one of your posts can end up somewhere and then be misused against you. Make sure you know and are assured of what you're putting up on the internet. Besides, you do not want your photos and videos to end up on some creepy subreddit now, do you?
Two-Factor Authentication or 2FA
Imagine you are trying to log in using your password, now that is simple right? But if anyone gets hold of your password, they can do the same. So, what can you do to be safer? The answer is first of all use Strong, and Unique passwords. Try not to keep the same password for everything. If you cannot keep them together then use any password manager like Google, Lastpass, Dashlane, Nord, etc. Whatever fits in your digital ecosystem.
Coming back to 2FA, it adds an extra layer of security to your logins. The next time you enter the password, you will be asked to either enter the authentication code or the set of codes given to you when you set up 2FA. You can use many methods like SMS (OTP), or a simple Email, but I would suggest using a verified, and trusted 2FA App like Google Auth, Microsoft, or Aegis.
Check before Sharing a Screenshot or Screen Recording
So you leaked your Card details by mistake when sharing a screenshot? Now it is online and anyone can see it, or use it even without your consent. Always double-check for sensitive info before sharing such media files. This info could be anything from your legal name, address, and security number to your bank account details and passwords.
Don't fall for FOMO
Last but not the least, no matter how cool something appears to be, do not fall for traps on social media that ask you to enter your details in return for something exciting. It could be a simple quiz on Facebook to check if you are going to be a millionaire, or if you are going to marry a pop star. It could potentially leak your info and affect the device, or even get hold of your social accounts. Yes, that is possible.
I was going to write about some new startups but decided to write this instead, thank you for reading.
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