Internet Scams and Internet were born together. People believe privacy is for those who have something to hide or are involved in deep dirty illegal habits. That’s not always true; privacy is something that defines us. If confidentiality weren’t necessary, nations wouldn’t have divided, and the concept of secrets would never have arisen.
In May 2017, a malware named “WannaCry” took 230,000 computers worldwide hostage. The unfamiliar developers somehow accessed Windows OS and encrypted user’s data and asked for a ransomware of $300 in Bitcoins to reverse what they did. While according to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Report, “40 percent of adults age 20-29 who have reported fraud ended up losing money in a fraud case”.
No matter how cautious you are, cybercriminals are one step ahead of you. What users require are ways to protect their online privacy from hackers. These pointers will definitely make you stand out regarding security.
1. Don’t Install Unknown Apps
Every time you install an app, it will ask you to access your private information such as your contacts, photos, camera and the phone itself. Have you ever wondered why a simple gaming app or any app would require your private information? Be cautious with a single affected app your device could be penetrated with malware and viruses.
Take the infamous Photo app Meitu which went viral on the social platform. Meitu is a Japanese app which does an anime-inspired makeover of celebs and politicians while sharing the result on social media. Could you figure a simple app as Meitu using user data and selling it to advertisers, so targeted ads could be directed towards those users. One of the people in China forecasts Meitu collects user information as to comply with the latest Chinese Law that requires the app to control what the user uploads and ban it if found suspicious.
That’s just one example, many other apps and platforms retrieve your private information and sell it to multiple companies. More chances of malware such as these are prone in Android while iOS restricts downloads of unknown apps.
2. Keep Your Devices Up To Date
One of the most natural and most fond ways of keeping your privacy intact is to forgo a task which most of us are hesitant of; “Updating our devices.” Whether it’s a computer or a smartphone the most effective way to keep your software up to date, says Maria rerecich, director of electronics testing at Consumer Reports.
Dozens and dozens of malware and viruses are exposed to computers and smartphones as you start to explore. One thing is for sure the internet is filled with bugs, and as soon as you go online, the chances of your device getting affected is a normal regime. To counter that manufacturers come up with patches for updates. Earlier this year Apple and Microsoft released multiple fixes for Meltdown and Spectre Security Flaws that affected millions of devices.
Even after installing the update it’s beneficial to cross-check privacy settings to ensure nothing has changed in the process. Users need to understand the importance of updates. Since every person is busy on their smartphones being in a “Neck Down” civilization, no one spares time for updates.
3. Encrypt your Messages
Have you ever wondered where your messages go when you click send on your smartphone or any device and platform? We tend to believe our messages are directly delivered to the recipient, and no one in the middle has access to it. Apparently, that’s not how it goes. There is a high chance before your messages are delivered to the recipient, a third person has already penetrated it in the middle. But that happens in microseconds?
Messages are sent in data packets through tunnels designed by your operating system whether its iOS or Android let’s suppose. You never know the private conversation you are trying to have is somehow posted on the social media. It’s a possibility! For that, it always advised using those messaging channels where to end-to-end encryption is involved. Which means once the message is sent it is encrypted and is only decrypted when it arrives at the recipient.
There was a time when Blackberry Messenger was the only messaging app that provided end to end encryption which was impossible to hack. Nowadays WhatsApp and Signal are the two channels which offer solid encrypted tunnel.
4. Configure a VPN
As soon as you are connected over the internet, your privacy your profile your data is at immense risk. But you won’t get to know unless something big happens or you don’t get to access your accounts. Till that happens, we as users do all of the things which will inevitably leak our private data. Regardless, the internet is filled with prying eyes, looking for the right opportunity to corrupt your device and get ahold of your information.
Many argue; ‘we have nothing to hide; hence there is nothing to worry.’ The harsh reality is the simplest of details if acquired could be used to blackmail you in ways unimaginable. That is why a VPN is required. VPN lets you switch your IP address so that all your online traffic will go through that IP address while your real IP address will be hidden. Even if someone tries to hack your account or locate you, the hacker will fail miserably as your real IP address will be anonymous.
This way you can browse anywhere on the web regardless of worrying about your privacy and security online. As a bonus VPN will let you virtually travel through any country you like without moving an inch from your sofa. For that, all you need is a secure and fastest VPN provider that will help you browse over the internet keeping away hackers and cybercriminals.
5. Use Phone’s Data
Relying on your phones network provider is better than using a public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fis mostly are scams. No wonder why Starbucks coffee has a Wi-Fi hotspot named “free Wi-Fi.” Now, why would Starbucks name is ‘free’? Have you ever given a thought to it? That’s a scam. Someone sitting near the outlet has created a fake hotspot and using it lure in users for connection. When they do, their credentials are hacked.
Which is why if you need a secure and private network, its always advised relying on your mobile networks data plan. 3G, 4G, and LTE are more secure as compared to a Wi-Fi hotspot since it is coming from a reliable source.
Zubair Khan – a foodie by choice and tech enthusiast by profession. He loves to get his hands into modern technology trends and share the knowledge with everyone. He is currently working fulltime for ReviewsDir as a Digital Marketing Executive. Aside of the work life, Zubair loves to travel new places and explore nature, food is still his first love though!