How can I protect my online privacy and anonymity?

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As more and more businesses in Charlotte adopt remote and hybrid work arrangements, many employees are now relying on their own devices and home Wi-Fi connections to get work done. While this keeps business costs down, it also gives hackers plenty of opportunities to exploit unprotected networks and unsuspecting users.

Everyone, including yourself, must take necessary precautions to protect personal information and company data. Here’s how.

Use antivirus software

Any computer or mobile device connected to the internet must be installed with antivirus software that prevents, detects, and removes malware. Without one, hackers can easily take over your machine and access confidential information such as client data, website passwords, your specific location, and the like.

Make sure to keep your antivirus software up to date. Ransomware and other types of malware are constantly evolving, so manufacturers issue security patches and updates to keep up with these ever-changing threats. Install the newest updates as soon as they become available to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting software vulnerabilities.

Protect against identity theft

If someone gets access to all your personal information such as your Social Security number, credit card information, and signature specimen, they may be able to use this information to steal your identity. Prevent opportunists from doing this by:

  • Setting up multifactor authentication (MFA) – Make sure your email and social media accounts have MFA enabled. MFA adds another layer of security by asking for a unique identifier like a fingerprint scan to verify your identity on top of your password.
  • Limiting the personal information you share on SNS – Social media sites help us connect with the world, but be careful not to post anything that will compromise your safety. Flight tickets, credit card details, and your location are information that you should never disclose.
  • Using your personal or business email address only for trusted purposes – Some websites ask for an email address when you sign up: do NOT give your business or personal email. If you do, you’ll get tons of spam from companies and possible hackers. 

Instead, create another email for subscription lists, online shopping, or anything you have to register for but won’t be using for the long haul. Use your business email address only for business purposes, and your personal one for correspondence. 

Employ online best practices

The smaller your digital footprint, the harder it is for hackers to trace you and get a hold of your data. That’s why you should:

  • Optimize your passwords – Using the same password for different websites can leave you vulnerable to attacks. If a cybercriminal cracks your go-to password, for instance, they can gain access to all your accounts that use the same combination. Use a password manager to create and securely store unique and strong passwords.
  • Review cookie policies – Websites use cookies to remember certain information about you, like what you recently purchased or added to your cart, so they can improve your experience the next time you visit. Before you click “OK” on a notice asking you to accept a website’s cookies, review exactly what kind of data they will be collecting.
  • Think before you click – Before you click on a search result or a link you saw on your feed, hover over it. This will reveal the address to which it will redirect. You can also use some web tools to determine if a site is safe. 
  • Browse in private mode – To prevent your computer from saving your browsing history and temporary internet files, use private mode: Chrome has Incognito and Safari has Private Browsing. But this doesn’t mean you’ll be completely invisible. Even in private mode, your internet service provider will be able to see your browsing activity, and the websites you visit will still be able to track you.

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

For anonymous browsing, use a VPN. It encrypts your data so that it will be incomprehensible to anyone who manages to intercept it. The software also masks your true IP address and hides your location.

However, VPNs are just privacy tools: they cannot ward off spyware that’s already on your computer. To ensure the utmost security, use it alongside firewalls and antivirus software.
SpectrumWise uses a seven-layer security solution to provide businesses with comprehensive cyber protection. Learn more by scheduling a consultation with us today.


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