Online Privacy: An Essential Right for Everyone

In today’s world, where more than 2 billion people across the globe are connected online. One has to be vigilant and fully aware of the kind of risks they face while surfing the web.

The information you put out there, whom you share it with and most importantly how you keep track of your security has become more of necessity than just a basic routine.

Let’s take a look at the Facebook disaster where data from millions of Americans was collected by Cambridge Analytica to allegedly influence the 2016 US election presidential election. This has been a very huge case that has opened up the eyes of the public and increasingly put a lot of pressure on governments and corporations that continue to secretly spy on people using CCTV cameras, GPS trackers in phones and several other tactics.

This same trend also led to formulation of the recent General Data Protection Regulation law in the European Union which focuses on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the Europe.

With that said, its clearly obvious that information we have online is continuously under scrutiny from dubious parties and corporations that either want to do harm or gain in one way or another.

Hackers are also interested in our personal data and have displayed how far they’re willing to go to get it by carrying out data breaches on servers, webcam hacks, obtaining user browser history and hacking emails so as to gain access to personal data like credit card information, purchase history, images and text to mention but a few.

Now that we know it’s open season on personal data, how can one protect themselves from a data breach? Well, let’s take a moment to review a few tips that can help ensure that your data is safe;

1. Setup secure passwords: This is one of the most important basic step in protecting yourself online. Use strong, different and hard to guess passwords for all your online accounts and ensure you don’t share the credentials with anyone you don’t trust.

2. Use two factor authentication: For those that may not know what two-factor authentication (2FA) means, it is where one sets up a second step of authentication. Simply put, let’s take an example whereby for you to access your email you will need a password and a secret code probably sent to your phone through text or app.

This is commonly used by banks, blogging platforms, online storage applications like Dropbox and so forth which makes it difficult for hackers to gain access to.

3. Keep your webcam sealed: If you’re not using your webcam or front facing camera, it’s advisable that you cover it with masking tape or a removable sticker because it can be hacked and used to give strangers access to what’s going on in your own home.

4. Provide limited information online: Most companies including social media platforms ask for a lot of personal data such as date of birth/age, location, email addresses and so much more. Avoid giving out your real location or personal email addresses where possible or else this data can end up in the wrong hands if someone gains access to it.

5. Avoid giving your information to unknown parties: Don’t play games on Facebook and other online platforms you don’t trust that require you to connect your profile. You can also use privacy settings to lock down your social media profiles so only your friends can see what you’re posting.

6. Be wary of public Wi-Fi connections: Public Wi-Fi spots are favorite hunting grounds for hackers and use them to easily gain access to login data for users without them noticing. It’s strongly recommended that you use a good VPN solution whenever you connect to Wi-Fi in coffee shops, airports or restaurants.

7. Use a passcode or fingerprint on your cell phone: Much as its annoying to always use a passcode to unlock your phone, having a secure authentication feature setup can save you a lot of trouble in case your phone is stolen or lost.

It will help keep unauthorized parties from using your phone which contains your personal data, contacts, social media accounts, and email.

There are many other ways to protect your personal data online. However, these few tips can get you started right away.

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