The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled us to stay indoors and take up work-from-home options as venturing out frequently poses greater health risks. Digital tools like social media, video conferencing, and online collaboration apps have taken over physical meetings, conferences, and seminars. Many people have taken to video conferencing and social media to stay in touch with family and friends. However, in doing so, we’ve unknowingly exposed personal data to scammers and hackers who are ready to exploit it for blackmailing and other financial gains.
Ensuring digital privacy during a pandemic carries greater significance since private data exposure can lead to huge financial losses and embarrassment. You need to maintain a better privacy level than you presently do because you never know when hackers’ malicious attacks become relevant to you. In this article, we shall look at some effective and convenient tips to ensure better digital privacy during the pandemic while gaining better control over your personal information and financial data.
Your Digital Privacy is at a Higher Risk During the Pandemic
Using your Google or Facebook account to sign into multiple services is a convenient option, but it destroys the concept of online privacy. Since you’re using the same account to use different services, trackers or hackers can log in to all the services you use once they gain access to your account details. Now, they’ll be able to extract all your personal and financial information without much effort and use that in the future to exploit your financial resources or blackmail you.
Using the incognito mode on your browser or updating the antivirus isn’t enough because they can’t protect all your devices, especially when you use public Wi-Fi or other unsecured networks. Here’re some robust ways of enhancing digital privacy during the pandemic and saving yourself from being publicly embarrassed or losing your hard-earned money:
Five Super-Convenient ways of improving digital privacy
Install a Password Manager
We all access multiple online accounts using a variety of devices ranging from smartphones to PCs. We use multiple networks while going online and use at least 70 to 80 different passwords, which are often easy to remember. However, what we don’t realize that easy passwords are equally easy to be guessed by hackers. A password manager is an application that you can install on all your devices, and it will help you to store and determine the strength of each password. Additionally, it can help you to monitor and create new and stronger passwords. The best thing is that majority of the password managers are available for free. However, if you wish to get advanced features, you would have to opt for the premium versions.
Use VPN for ultimate security
Public Wi-Fi networks are the best hunting grounds for hackers, cybercriminals, and scammers waiting to lunge on to unsuspecting victims. The moment you start using a public Wi-Fi network, you’re exposed to a wide range of cyber threats, and often your data gets intercepted before reaching its destination. Mobile apps on your phone could be connecting to unsecured websites without your knowledge, which can expose critical financial and personal information.
However, when you use a Virtual Private Network, all your data is secured through a robust encryption system. Install a compatible application that will encrypt all web traffic and prevent it from being accessed by intrusive parties. This change will automatically provide end-to-end encryption for all the data transmitted over a network. Thus, you’re able to eliminate the middleman threat quite successfully.
Use Private Browsing Mode
It isn’t as effective as a VPN, but it ensures that none of your browsing histories are saved, and all the cookies generated during a session are deleted. Though your internet service provider (ISP) will still be able to track your activities, you will feel more secure as no cookies will be activated on your device.
Unsuspecting users are often targeted with adware, which is just another creative way of gathering information through ads. Hackers are persistent enough to target you with the same ad over multiple channels. For instance, you’ll get to see the same ad while using Facebook and browsing through online stores. The adverts will not only interrupt your browsing experience but also target other applications and can even reduce the device’s battery. For instance, in 2019, researchers concluded that 61% of malicious ads go after Windows users. So, if you are using Windows, take good care of your device by equipping the latest cybersecurity tools.
Update Privacy settings on social media accounts
Often, we end up permitting various websites and apps to interact with our social media profiles on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, it can harm your privacy in the long run. So, update all the privacy settings for your different social media accounts. Prevent unnecessary information sharing with unreliable apps and websites, and this practice will save you from unnecessary hassles.