Maintaining online privacy seems to be a daunting task in recent years. But there are several ways for an average internet user to stay protected in 2022 without anyone knowing.
Your online activities are always a target of surveillance. Besides different organizations and governments, your ISP also monitors and knows everything you do online. The best thing you can do to increase your online privacy is using various tools like a VPN, browser extensions, private email services, and browsers. The following table gives an overview of privacy tools you can use and enjoy anonymous browsing.
Each privacy tool has its own instructions. Hence, once you have chosen the right privacy tool, learning how to use it properly is essential. The following section is all about the basic tips for using privacy tools:
Encryption is the best-known method of enabling data privacy and security. Internet encryption helps ensure your data remains secure from prying eyes by jumbling it into an indecipherable code that can only be deciphered through a specific decryption key. Several tools can help enable internet encryption, such as:
VPN (Encrypt All Internet Traffic)
A virtual Private Network or VPN is a tool that encrypts all of your internet traffic. It works by routing your data as soon as it leaves your device to a remote VPN server. The data gets encrypted and is further encapsulated within encrypted packets that prevent online snooping or spying.
There are many different VPNs to choose from, so it is important to find one that meets your needs. Here are the three best VPNs that respect your privacy follow:
- NordVPN is a fast and reliable VPN service that encrypts your data with military-grade encryption. The VPN follows a strict no-logs policy, which means that it does not track or store your data.
- ExpressVPN: It has a strong no-logs policy and military-grade encryption. In addition, it offers fastest connection speed, which makes it a great choice for streaming videos and downloading files.
- CyberGhost: It’s another best choice for a VPN service. The best thing about this VPN is it’s strict no-logs policy, encryption capabilities, and several privacy and security-boosting features like a kill switch, split tunneling, ad blocker, and dedicated IP address.
Besides this, you can also consider using the best-trusted VPN providers. Also, ensure that when you decide to use a VPN, consider important factors such as jurisdiction, logging policy, encryption, past track history, and extra features. All these things are vital for maintaining maximum online security on the web.
Encrypted Messaging Apps
Encrypted messaging apps are a great way to keep your conversations private and secure. They help protect your conversations from being intercepted by third-party entities.
Here are the best encrypted messaging apps that will help keep your conversations private and secure:
- WhatsApp: It is owned by Facebook that uses an encryption protocol developed by Signal to prevent third-party apps from accessing your calls and messaging data. Moreover, it uses AES-256-bit encryption and HMAC-256 for authentication.
- Signal: This is a free, open-source, and end-to-end encrypted messaging app that’s available for Android and iOS devices and encrypts all calls and messages.
- Telegram: This is a German-based, free, open-source, and end-to-end encrypted messaging app. It has great features like destructing messages, files, and unlimited media sharing.
You can use any encrypted messaging app to make your conversation private.
DNS traffic is never encrypted, meaning that untrusted network administrators can see all the potentially sensitive data exposed via your DNS. Therefore, encrypted DNS is yet another best way to protect your online privacy. It is a new approach that uses encryption to protect your DNS queries.
DNS encryption ensures that your DNS queries remain between you and your DNS provider. The encrypted DNS offers two options for encryption:
- The first is DNS over HTTPS (DoH), which focuses on user privacy.
- The other is DNS over TLS (DoT), which stresses on security and control of network operators.
Both the web protocols encrypt the DNS queries disguised as regular HTTPS traffic. These queries are then sent to a special server called the DNS resolver, which resolves the query within the DoH request and replies to the user in an encrypted manner. DoT uses an 853 port while DoH uses port 443, which all other HTTPS websites use and is the major difference between the two.
DoT is much better to use if you prefer network security. It allows network administrators to monitor and block DNS queries, which stops malicious traffic. In contrast, DoH is better to use from a privacy perspective. As the queries are hidden in the regular HTTPS traffic, they are not easy to block. Microsoft, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome support encrypted DNS services to ensure data integrity.
The Onion Routing project or what’s commonly known as Tor is a project by the US marines, designed to enable online anonymity and security to its users. Tor works on a system of relays or nodes and while it doesn’t encrypt your data, it provides layers of encryption which help ensure online security. Apart from that, it also changes your IP address which helps provide online anonymity. Typically Tor works in the following fashion:
- Information from your device enters through the entry node. Here the information gets the first layers of encryption. The entry node also changes your IP address.
- After the entry node, the information goes to the relay node. Here a few layers of encryption come off.
- The data now proceeds to the exit node. Here all the layers of encryption come off. The data now proceeds towards its exit unprotected.
Tor is a reliable and secure method for enabling online privacy and security. However it does have a fair share of drawbacks. First off, after the exit node the information is left vulnerable to spying. Apart from that since it’s been around for a considerable time, the Tor system is outdated. Moreover, anyone who carefully monitors each node can trace back the source of information.
Browser Privacy Tools
The browser you use can reveal sensitive information about your location, browsing history, IP address, operating system, and hardware to third parties. This makes browsers a large attack surface, and hackers can compromise them in several ways.
Using browser privacy tools helps to ensure better online privacy and a safe browsing experience. Below are the best-known browser privacy tools that help to stay protected in 2022. These tools block ISP tracking, advertisers from showing unwanted ads, and your personal threat model.
A browser extension is a piece of software that adds more functionality to your browser. These extensions block ads, and trackers, and protect your privacy while you are browsing the internet.
There are many privacy extensions for browsers that can help keep your data safe and secure. Here are some of the best privacy extensions for browsers:
- Privacy Badger: It is best for blocking ads and trackers. It is a free extension that is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
- uBlock Origin: is a browser extension that blocks ads and trackers. It is available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
- Ghostery: is a browser extension that blocks ads and trackers. It is available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
- Disconnect: is a browser extension that blocks ads, trackers, and cookies. It is available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
- Cookie AutoDelete: It is a browser extension that deletes cookies from your computer when they reach their expiration date. It is available for Chrome and Firefox.
There are risks associated with browser extensions. Some have security flaws and risk your privacy; hence, you must only use a secure browser extension when required.
Using a mainstream browser like Google or Yahoo makes your online privacy vulnerable. These browsers work as a data collection tool and spy on your activities to gather data, including your email address, PII, browsing history, passwords, WebRTC, and much more.
There are various best private browsers available, and some of them include:
- Tor Browser: It was initially designed by US Navy officials for private communications. To maintain online privacy, the browser uses HTTPS encryption, a default private browsing mode, and protection against browser fingerprinting.
- Epic Privacy Browser: A chromium-based browser that uses an encrypted proxy to hide your IP address and makes you anonymous on the web. It also blocks WebRTC leaks and deletes your browsing history after every session.
- Brave Browser: It uses on-site HTTPS encryption to hide your online activities. Also, it comes with a Brave Shield feature that blocks trackers, cookies, and intrusive ads and ensures anonymous browsing.
- DuckDuckGo: It relies on smarter encryption technology that prevents ISP tracking. Various security and privacy-focused features like a privacy metre and browser extensions boost digital privacy.
- Iridium Browser: It offers privacy-boosting features and plugins to provide maximum online privacy. You can block trackers, cookies, and malicious URLs while using this browser.
Private browsers reduce online threats and prevent IP tracking and data collection for targeted advertisements. But not all private browsers are equal; thus, you must choose a browser with a range of features like browser fingerprinting, anti-tracking, built-in password manager, and ad blocker.
Below is a list of common script blocker extensions that you can use to boost browser privacy:
- Script Safe: It is a free extension for Google Chrome that blocks various web content and scripts and prevents low-level privacy risks.
- Script Defender: This script blocker tool is similar to Script Safe, but in addition to blocking scripts, it also blocks cookies, images, iframes, and plugins.
- Content Block Helper: Besides blocking malicious website scripts, it also blocks trackers, intrusive ads, and any web content that annoys you.
Blocking scripts also blocks several other elements on the web page like cookies, trackers, and ads and ensures an improved private user experience.
A password manager is a software program that stores your passwords in an encrypted format. They help protect your passwords from being stolen by hackers.
Here are the best password managers that will help keep your passwords safe and secure:
- KeePass: It is a free, open-source, and cross-platform password manager. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices.
- Dashlane: It has a paid version but offers a free trial. It is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
- LastPass: It is another free, open-source, and cross-platform password manager. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices.
You can use any of these trusted password managers to keep your passwords safe and out of the reach of snooping eyes.
Private Search Engines
A private search engine is a great way to keep your search history private and secure. They help protect your search history from being tracked by third-party entities.
Here are the best private search engines that will help keep your search history private and secure:
- DuckDuckGo: It’s easy to use and never stores your personal information. It gets the data from Yahoo! and Yandex.
- StartPage: This is great when you want to keep your IP address hidden. It is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
- Searx: It is a France-based search engine that is open-source and does not track your searches. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices.
Always use the best private search engines not to keep your searches private but also to enjoy a smooth experience.
Like your web browser, the daily emails you send and receive can expose sensitive information like your IP address, geolocation, email content, and metadata; hence, it is the number one attack vector. More than 90% of attacks on an organization start with an email, so it is crucial to maintain email privacy.
Be concerned about your privacy when using emails. There are different ways to maintain email privacy, such as using private email providers, email encryption, and protection from phishing.
Email encryption is the first and necessary step for protecting email privacy. It is an authentication method that prevents unintended and unauthorized people from reading your messages. It mixes up the email content and converts the messages into an unreadable format using a public key infrastructure (PKI). While the one with the private key can decrypt the messages.
Email encryption is vital when sharing sensitive information. It also stops hackers from intercepting your online communications and stealing valuable data. There are two main types of encryption that most email clients support. S/MIME and PGP/MIME. The S/MIME relies on centralized servers to pick up the encryption algorithms and is built into iOS devices. The PGP/SIME encryption depends on a decentralized trust model and is a built-in web-based email client like Microsoft Outlook and Gmail.
Here’s how you can ensure email encryption on popular email clients:
- Gmail: It uses S/MIME built-in encryption in its apps. The encryption is indicated with red, gray, and green color icons. Red means no encryption, gray means that emails are protected with TLS, and green indicates that all the information is protected with S/MIME encryption and can be decrypted with a private key. You can change the encryption level according to your needs.
- Microsoft Outlook: It also supports S/MIME encryption protocol but requires additional setup.
- Yahoo: It uses SSL encryption by default to protect your email account. Hence to use PGP and S/MIME protocols, you need to install a third-party service to encrypt the emails.
You can use third-party software to add an encryption layer to your emails if you have an Android phone. In contrast, iOS devices have S/MIME encryption support by default. You just need to go to the advanced settings menu and switch to the S/MIME option.
Private Email Services
Like popular web browsers, email services are also not secure to use. There have been various occasions when Gmail, Yahoo, and Microsoft Outlook violated users’ email privacy and either invaded or shared email data with the authorities.
One simple solution, i.e., start using the best private email providers to keep all your emails secure and out of the reach of prying eyes. The private email providers that respect users’ privacy includes:
- ProtonMail: It is the oldest email provider with free and premium plans for individuals and businesses. It uses end-to-end encryption, OpenPGP, and zero-access encryption to protect your email data.
- StartMail: It is a Netherland-based private email provider that uses PGP encryption to keep your emails secured. Also, it offers full IMAP and SMTP support, allowing you to receive and send emails on your favourite email client.
- Zoho: This private email provider uses AES-256 bit encryption and strong ciphers that ensure no one can invade the contents of your email message. In addition, Zoho offers a strong control panel and two-factor authentication feature that guarantees that no one except you can access your email account.
- HushMail: It is a secure email provider that is HIPAA compliant and sends end-to-end encrypted emails to HushMail and non-HushMail users. You can also create secure web forms for your business and add e-signatures to your emails using HushMail.
- Tutanota: It uses several advanced features like secure connect, 2FA, and encrypted calendars to maintain email privacy. You can use it for personal and business purposes at an affordable price.
All the best private email providers promise to increase your email privacy. But when you choose one, you must consider essential factors like the email provider’s jurisdiction, encryption, features, and logging policy.
96% of cyber attacks are a result of phishing attacks. Hence, everyone must be able to detect phishing attacks, be it an individual or an employee of an organization.
Detecting phishing attacks is challenging as attackers get sophisticated and use several advanced technologies and methods to trick the users. Using phishing detection and response software is an effective method to prevent phishing attacks and maintain email privacy.
It is a set of various cybersecurity tools that enables organizations to detect and avoid phishing threats before they can cause any damage. Some of the best phishing detection tools include,
- Avanan: It is an anti-phishing software for cloud-hosted emails. The software analyzes the message content, header, formatting, and the relationship between the sender and receiver to establish trust.
- Area 1 Horizon: This is also a cloud-based service that protects email phishing through geo-distributed and scalable mail transfer agent services.
- Cofense: This phishing detection software is designed for the public and private sectors. It includes a learning management system for phishing detection, reporting, and awareness training.
- IRONSCALES: It is a self-learning email security platform that predicts, detects, and prevents phishing attacks and protects against zero-day threats. Also, it uses AI and ML technology to protect from email phishing attacks.
- Sophos Email: It is powered by artificial intelligence, blocks phishing attempts, and helps eliminate spam messages and malware.
Besides this, it’s also vital that you educate yourself about the latest phishing trends, so it becomes easier to detect email phishing attacks.
A spam filter is another great tool that helps increase email privacy and ensures that your online privacy is not compromised. It is a program that detects unwanted, unsolicited, and virus-infected emails and prevents them from landing in the user’s inbox.
The spam filters are hosted in the servers or cloud or integrated by default into the email software, like Gmail, Yahoo, and Microsoft Outlook. They detect the pattern and automatically move future emails from the sender to the spam folder. There are various types of spam filters, but the most used filters are as follows:
- Rule-Based Filters: These allow users to establish specific rules and apply them to all incoming emails. Whenever the content of the email matches any of these rules, it automatically forwards the email to the spam folder.
- Blocklist Filters: It blocks spam emails from senders included in a comprehensive spammers list. This list is updated frequently to keep up with spammers who quickly change their email addresses.
- Content Filters: These filters examine each email’s contents that offer special deals and promote explicit content and human feelings. They use this information to decide whether it should go in the spam filter or not. Some organizations also use content filters to block emails that contain inappropriate language.
- Header Filters: It analyzes email headers to determine if they have originated from a legit source. The header examines IP addresses and data that spammers often use to send multiple emails.
The built-in email-based spam filter does its job pretty well and detects and blocks spam messages efficiently. But, if you’re still unsatisfied with their performance, you can opt to use the paid spam filtering services.
You never know that the email in your mailbox also contains a virus consisting of malicious code to infect one or more devices. The virus can be activated upon opening the email or clicking on the attached link and can disrupt the device’s functioning or spread malware or ransomware. Therefore, to maintain email privacy, it’s crucial to adopt a strategy to protect against email viruses.
Here are some of the ways to protect against email viruses:
- The best tool to prevent viruses is using antivirus software that scans the downloaded files received via email and blocks viruses from infecting your device.
- Scan all emails for potential malware and viruses.
- Be cautious while opening emails from suspicious and unknown sources.
- Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, and mail client.
- Avoid open executable files included as attachments.
Besides this, also watch for phishing email signs like grammatical and spelling errors, email domains, and email content. The phishing email attachments are also embedded with viruses, so be careful when clicking on such links.
The portable devices you use are increasingly being attacked at different levels. Hackers use advanced tactics to compromise device security to access sensitive data. There are also potential threats to devices, such as spyware, malicious apps, data leaks, phishing scams, and unsecure Wi-Fi networks. To avoid identity or data theft, people must take steps to increase device security and reduce these threats.
To increase device security, you need to adopt different security measures. Follow the tips discussed below that boost device security and help to protect digital privacy.
An operating system is a great way to keep your device secure. They help protect your device from being hacked by third-party entities.
Here are the best-operating systems that will help keep your device secure:
- Tails: This is a live operating system you can use on any computer. It is based on Debian Linux and helps protect your privacy and security.
- Ubuntu: This is a free, open-source, and cross-platform operating system. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux devices.
- Qubes OS: This is a free, open-source, and security-focused operating system. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux devices.
If you are using Mac, Windows, or Linux and wondering which is the most secure, then Linux is the best option.
Antivirus software is a must-have for any device. It helps protect your device from malware and other online threats. But, not all antivirus software is created equal.
Here is the trusted antivirus software that will protect your device from online threats:
- McAfee: It is the best when it comes to antivirus software. that is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
- Bitdefender: This is a great choice for antivirus software. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
- Kaspersky: This is a great choice for antivirus software. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
- Norton: This is a great choice for antivirus software. It is compatible with Windows and Mac devices.
- Avast: This is a great choice for antivirus software. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
You can use any of them to protect your device from online threats. Be sure to install it on all of your devices.
There are many routers out there but not all of them are created equal. Some routers come with better security features than others.
If you are looking for a router that has good Wi-Fi security, then here are some of the best ones to choose from:
- Asus RT-AC68U: This is a dual-band AC1900 router that comes with AiProtection.
- Netgear Nighthawk XR500: This dual-band router with a gaming focus comes with Gaming VPN and QoS.
- Google WiFi: This is a mesh Wi-Fi system that is easy to set up and covers a large area.
You can use any of these routers to help keep your Wi-Fi security private and secure.
Malware is a common device security threat that affects individuals and organizations. Using anti-malware software can help combat the risk of malware and boost device security.
An anti-malware software program protects your systems and sensitive data from malware. Here’s the list of the best of the best anti-malware software you can consider using:
- Malwarebytes: It detects various kinds of malware and blocks them efficiently. The software program also blocks intrusive ads and malicious websites and offers a VPN add-on and reputation scan feature.
- McAfee Malware Detection: It is a feature rich software that offers real-time protection against malware. Also, it provides a password manager feature that saves you from the hassle of creating strong passwords for your accounts.
- Kaspersky: It is a reliable security suite that includes a range of features, such as anti-malware protection, data breach monitoring, password manager, and a VPN add-on with 200 MB of data each day.
- Norton 360: If you want to keep your device safe from malware and other potential online threats, then Norton 360 is the perfect option. It efficiently detects and prevents malware from infecting your device but also comes with firewalls, dark web monitoring features, and phishing prevention controls.
To witness exceptional anti-malware software performance, you must choose one wisely. While choosing software, ensure you inspect its features, ease of use, and price.
A firewall is also a reliable and secure way to maintain device security. It blocks unwanted and unsolicited network traffic from getting unauthorized access to your private data. Also, it acts as a protective shield to save your device from malware and other network security threats.
Many devices like Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems have a built-in firewall to block backdoor access for malicious actors. Firewalls are used in both personal and enterprise settings. There are various types of firewalls that you can use like:
- Packet-Filtering Firewall: It operates at the junction points where devices such as routers and switches do their work. Also, it uses a single device to filter traffic for the entire network at a fast speed.
- Next-Generation Firewall: It combines deep packet inspection with malware filtering and other controls to provide an optimal filtering level.
- Application-Level Firewall: This type of firewall uses a set of configured policies to decide whether to block or allow communication to and fro an app.
- Circuit Gate Level Firewall: They are built-in to some software or existing firewalls, and their primary purpose is to establish secure connections.
Besides boosting device and network security, a firewall is a great tool that offers other valuable benefits. You can use a firewall to make your online gaming experience safer and block immoral content.
Torrenting is a free and easy way to download, upload, and share large files via a peer-to-peer network. But torrenting always falls in the grey area because of legality issues. While downloading torrents unprotected, your IP address is visible to ISPs and copyright trolls because of zero anonymity. The ISP can throttle your connection and even charge you for copyright violations because of torrenting.
Moreover, there are chances that you download a fake or bogus torrent file that’s embedded with malware and can infect your device. To reduce the risks associated with torrenting and to safely download torrents without compromising your online privacy, you can use different software and proxy services described below:
Torrent clients are a great way to keep your downloads private and secure. They help protect your downloads from being tracked by third-party entities. Torrenting sometimes is illegal or gets you DMCA notices.
Here are the best torrent clients that will help keep your downloads private and secure:
- uTorrent: This is a free, lightweight, and cross-platform torrent client. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux devices.
- BitTorrent: This is a free, lightweight, and cross-platform torrent client. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux devices.
- qBittorrent: This is a free, open-source, and cross-platform torrent client. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and FreeBSD devices.
It’s Important to use a reliable VPN with torrenting to make your experience more private and anonymous.
SockS5 is the improved and upgraded version of the SOCKS protocol that establishes a full TCP connection. It uses the SSH encrypted tunnelling method to send unencrypted data over the network via an encrypted channel.
The SOCKS5 proxy is the best proxy that is reliable for torrenting because:
- It offers full UDP support that allows you to connect to the maximum number of peers. As a result, it provides a more reliable and faster connection for torrent downloading.
- SOCKS5 proxy bypasses geographical restrictions and allows downloading torrent files from anywhere. Being a proxy, it can change the IP address with the IP address of the country where the torrent content is available.
- Some websites even block users’ IP addresses to prevent them from accessing a particular site. With SOCKS5, you can evade such internet blocks by using the IP address of the proxy server to smoothly download torrents.
Some reliable VPN providers offer the SOCKS5 proxy feature to enhance your torrenting experience. By using such VPNs, you can enjoy double benefits.
A PeerBlock or peer guardian is a popular choice for downloading torrents. It is an open-source and free firewall that enables P2P and BitTorrent users to download torrents from any torrent sites safely by blocking malicious IP addresses.
The main purpose of a PeerBlock is to block all the IP addresses of the organizations that monitor your online activities. This includes government agencies, copyright holders, ISPs, and other companies that pose a significant threat to torrenting. The working mechanism of a PeerBlock is as follows:
- PeerBlock comes with a huge blocklist database of known IP addresses. When you activate a PeerBlock, it blocks the incoming and outgoing connections to the malicious IP address of hackers, copyright trolls, and ISPs included in the list.
- If you want to add more IP addresses to the blocklist, you can buy an IP address list from iblocklist.com.
However, PeerBlock comes with significant issues, such as not hiding your IP address or encrypting the data, which means that ISP can still view your online activities. In addition, PeerBlock can sometimes block incorrect IP addresses and even fails to recognize and block every malicious user. Thus, for a secure torrenting experience, instead of using a PeerBlock, use the best PeerBlock alternatives.
Using a sandbox environment is also a reliable and secure method for torrenting and P2P file-sharing activities. A sandbox is an environment consisting of virtual servers between the system and the program you ru. When you run a web browse under this program, it detects and contains all the malicious software in the sandbox.
A sandbox ensures safe torrenting because it protects your system from getting infected with viruses that comes along with the torrent file.
A seedbox is a dedicated remote server at a data centre that allows you to download torrents safely and incredibly fast.
A torrent web client interface helps in accessing the seedbox service. When connected to this service, upload the torrent file; this will save the bandwidth because you had to upload the file once despite how many times other users downloaded it. But if you want to download a torrent file, select the file, and it will quickly download.
Using a seedbox is one of the most reliable methods to download torrents and offers several benefits, such as:
- It hides your IP address and makes you anonymous on the web.
- These servers protect your web traffic with HTTPS encryption.
- It also helps in bypassing ISP throttling and ensures fast downloading speed.
- A seedbox also protects your device from malware invasion.
As you use a public IP address belonging to a data centre, a seedbox keeps your data protected and out of the reach of prying eyes.
Social Media Security
As more and more information is revealed online, hackers, companies, and advertisers’ chances of mining data and undermining online privacy also increase. Also, online threats and data breaching incidents targeting popular social media platforms have raised the privacy concerns of social media users.
Though social media is bad for your digital privacy, there’s no way you can completely stop using it. You can limit social media use or follow privacy tips on various social media platforms that restrict the volume of information you share online and also helps you to stay protected while you browse through these sites.
The Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp is a popular encrypted messaging app that more than two billion people use. But, it’s no surprise that malware threats, unencrypted data backups, and phishing scams have begun to appear and seriously threaten users’ online privacy.
Try out these helpful tips to enjoy some privacy while using WhatsApp.
- WhatsApp is not the most secure private messaging app, but it does allow users to put some control. You can at least control who can see your last seen, profile picture, live location, and status.
- Enable the two-factor authentication feature to increase your online security. This feature adds a passcode to your WhatsApp and ensures no one can access your data.
- Turn on security notifications, so you’re notified when a security code is changed. It allows you to check encryption with other contacts over a different messenger and increases security.
- Block messages and report the user if you receive unwanted messages. Also, do watch for phishing signs in the text messages you receive.
WhatsApp is also testing new features like screenshot blocking for added online protection. As soon as these new features roll out, you can surely enhance your privacy on WhatsApp.
Facebook continues to subject its users to trackers, security vulnerabilities, data leaks, and targeted ads, so protecting privacy on Facebook is not a preference now but a necessity. The social media giant monitors and collects data on everything you do on its platform, including anything you post on your timelines, like pictures, videos, memes, and political opinions.
Moreover, it also has access to your IP address, your search activity, the groups you join, and the messages you send on Messenger. Thankfully, some steps can make your Facebook more private like,
- Facebook uses facial recognition technology to tag your photos. If you don’t want any more tagging, you can switch off this feature by changing the privacy settings.
- You can choose who can see your posts and who cannot. You can restrict people from seeing your posts by navigating the Privacy Checkup and Shortcut sections.
- The social media site offers a two-factor authentication feature that adds an extra security layer to your Facebook account. Enable this feature as it restricts your account login from an unregistered device or browser. The registered device receives an authentication code; upon entering that code, one can access their Facebook account.
- You have no idea how much personal information you have shared on Facebook, from your birthday, places you visit, phone numbers, and much more. Delete all such personal information from Facebook and try to share as limited information as possible.
- When you use Facebook to log into other sites and apps, these sites access your data, including your name and photo, from your Facebook account. Avoid accessing any sites from your Facebook account.
All of these tips and along with mandatory Facebook privacy settings, help to protect your online privacy.
Instagram is a popular social media platform that allows people to share photos with their followers, friends, and family. Still, it exposes you to a range of privacy and security risks.
Some dangers of using Instagram include phishing scams, security vulnerabilities, and data leaks. But still, there are ways to maintain online privacy while using Instagram. You can protect your privacy on Instagram in the following ways:
- A public Instagram account invites hackers to view your photos and know about your life routine and other details. Thus, try to share all these things with a few close people. Change your account settings and make it a private account. If you are an Instagram influencer, you need to be careful about who to add and who to not.
- Enable a two-factor authentication feature that prevents unauthorized access to your account. When you enable this feature, you receive an authentication code via text message every time you log into your Instagram account on a new device.
- Third-party apps like the one you use to schedule your Instagram posts also have access to your Instagram data. Make sure that you grant access to apps that are necessary to use.
- Lock your Instagram account to stop strangers from viewing and commenting on your photos and stories.
- Your profile picture and bio are not hidden from Instagram, and hackers can take advantage of creating a fake account using this information. Do not include sensitive data in your bios, such as your full name, phone number, and street number.
Like other social media platforms, Instagram also makes changes to its services. They either introduce better security controls to remove bugs or launch new features to boost your online privacy. Make sure you update Instagram, and once it’s updated, scan your privacy settings.
Like Instagram, Snapchat also allows users to upload photos and videos and share them with people worldwide for 24 hours. But like all other social networking sites, Snapchat collects your data and then uses it for targeted advertising.
In other words, the snaps you upload on Snapchat are not as private and secure as you think. It has much of your sensitive data like usernames, photos, device type, location, third-party data, and logging information. Also, if you don’t set suitable security and privacy settings, you can expose yourself to significant privacy risks. Here are the privacy and security maintenance tips for Snapchat that you need to follow:
- Snapchat does not sync your contacts with the app by default. But, if you have permission, it can collect data from your phone book and keep updating your contacts. View the contacts you have synced with Snapchat and delete your contact information from the app.
- Change your Contact Me settings so unknown people can’t connect with you, see your photos, and send unwanted messages.
- You can customize your snap settings and block specific friends from viewing your stories.
- Snapchat collects a lot of the information from your location. Disable the Snap Map feature and restrict other people from knowing your location.
- Avoid sharing your Snapchat username on other social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. While sharing usernames QR code is also shared, and by scanning the code, anyone can add you as a friend.
The tips mentioned above will maintain your privacy on Snapchat, which leads to improved online privacy.
Discord is like any other instant messaging app that enables users to communicate via text messages and audio and video calls. With the rapid changes in the security landscape, cybercriminals have found ways to compromise your privacy on Discord.
To safely use Discord, follow the safety tips as follows:
- Set a strong password for your Discord account. The password must be of at least eight characters with a mix of uppercase, lowercase, special characters, numbers, and symbols that are difficult to crack.
- Turn on the two-factor authentication feature and increase the security of your account.
- Enable the Keep me Safe feature that scans all the images, videos, and text messages and blocks the age-restricted content.
- If you don’t want to receive unsolicited messages from a user, you can simply block them.
Besides this, follow the safe account practices and maintain your privacy while using Discord.
Numerous entities track, monitor, and record your online activities. Keeping your data private is essential, so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Use internet encryption through a VPN to remain anonymous and surf the web the way you want. Also, various privacy tools like password managers, antivirus software, phishing detection and response software, and script blockers help protect your online privacy.
Besides this, you can further strengthen your digital privacy by maintaining email privacy, device security, and social media privacy.
By using the tools discussed above, you can define yourself on your own terms and protect yourself from unnecessary intrusions into your personal life. What will you do to take control of your privacy today?