Fast-paced technological advances are often associated with harming the health and well-being of the population. This is usually attributed to the fact that the convenience we find in technology encourages us to hand over as much of our business and life to it as possible.
For instance, when technology is embraced for its speed we tend to associate it with the number of things it can handle. And this is not always a good thing. For example, because we’re so connected and emails are so easy to send, your inbox is filled with unread messages, which can sometimes frustrate you.
Similarly, technology encourages multitasking because it enables us to do more things at a go. This takes a toll on the productivity and brain of the user.
In the most recent years, asides from the health side effects mentioned above, the rise in technology has extended the arm of the bully, the robber and the contract killer, bringing about an increase in cybercrimes which has made the internet as dark and evil as any known dangerous alley. Financial and identity theft are common phenomena and black hat hackers are always at work inventing new ways to torment the public.
However, these negatives don’t change the fact that, when used well, technology makes our lives much easier than without it. To enjoy the best of both worlds — health and cybersecurity — savvy users are learning ways to protect themselves against the malicious through online safety tools and procedures. Let’s look at some of the most useful.
1. Evaluate social media accounts
Social media is one of the major treasure troves for data miners. Hackers know that the average user exposes a lot of their information publicly online. By carefully following the public posts, they can understand the user’s patterns and basic information about them. A little digging could even lead to their close friends and relatives.
To improve your online safety, you have to rethink how you use social media. Limit how much you share and also keep as much of the private information as possible to yourself.
2. Pick a new email service provider
If you’re using a free email service, chances are that something is going on behind your back — most likely that your data is being used for advertisements or sold to third parties. It’s time to rethink your setup and invest in a secure email service.
3. Practice proper password management
Hackers exploit weak passwords to gain easy access into your private information. Through the various sites that require you to sign in, hackers can view even your most private information by accessing your accounts. Worse if they make a connection between your various accounts and gather all that data about you.
The data gathered can be sold to people who’re likely to benefit from serving you targeted ads or stealing your money. It can also be used to steal your identity of which use is unimaginable.
Good password management is about proper storage of passwords so you don’t forget them and they aren’t accessible to unauthorized people. It’s also about coming up with strong passwords which can’t be easily hacked.
4. Encrypt your data
Data encryption used to be a reserve of the most savvy. However, advances in technology as well as necessity have made it possible for the average user to encrypt, decrypt, view or change their data at will.
When encrypted, data is impossible to read. If someone gets access to it, they wouldn’t know what to do with it since all they see is a series of jumbled words and characters.
5. Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a user’s much-valued possession today. Many of the cyber-related problems affecting the modern internet user arise from a lack of privacy which results in insecurity and generally, the web becomes an unsafe place.
A VPN shields its user from any onlookers who might cause harm to them or steal their information. However, recent findings by security firm CSIRO have revealed that not all VPNs are safe. Many of them don’t do enough to enhance the user’s online safety. Luckily, there are reputable platforms like TheBestVPN that help users choose the right VPN by providing trustworthy reviews.
6. Use secure web browsers
Web browsers are at the very entrance into the internet. Unfortunately, they have been manipulated by various corporations so that now they are a source of user data. When companies such as Google and Facebook access your data, they can use it to advertise to you without your agreeing to receive such advertisements.
Although web browsers such as Tor have in the past been associated with the dark web and criminal activities, the average person is finding more reasons to use secure web browsers. They act as an added reinforcement to online privacy and security.
7. Embrace secure cloud services
Cloud services make storage and sharing easy and more advanced. However, over the past we’ve heard of popular cloud services that leak user data to third parties. Sometimes it’s because of their jurisdictions. Because of where they are based, they can’t guarantee that your data won’t be viewed by third parties such as the government.
There’s no doubt that online safety affects your physical and mental well-being. Learning how to protect yourself from the malicious people gives you a peace of mind that many users don’t currently possess, thereby allowing you to calmly enjoy all the advantages of the internet.