6 Ways to Secure Your Digital Presence

by Jones David

The precarious nature of cyberspace can threaten your digital presence, especially with rising incidents of cyber-attacks. Viruses, phishing scams, and malware attacks might lead to data breaches and identity thefts. The most alarming aspect of these attacks is their growing sophistication, making it more difficult to prevent such disasters.

Even when you’re using popular and reputable websites, they employ multiple ways to track, collect, and store your data. Thus, you’re left at the mercy of website and server owners to secure your data, which might even include critical financial information. Risks are high, and you can’t pass on the control of personal data to some third party that might not take the necessary precautions to secure it. Securing your digital presence must be at the top of your priority list, as it’s extremely important.

Let us look at 6 convenient ways to secure your digital presence

The Fundamentals

Most online users try to adhere to the cybersecurity guidelines laid down by organizations such as the National Cybersecurity Alliance. However, if you’re still unaware of these recommendations, it will be better to go through them again and understand the main points.

Never trust anything that looks suspicious. As mentioned earlier, phishing scams and malware attacks are getting highly sophisticated, so you should never open emails, messages that look questionable or unusual. Doubtful messages or emails related to your social media account, emails, or financial services must be deleted immediately.

If any of your WhatsApp messages or Gmail emails include suspicious links, you must never click them until and unless you’re absolutely confident of their reliability. Instead of clicking on the link, you should contact the sender directly and ask them whether they intended to send you the message.

Staying updated is equally important. You must update the operating system, antivirus software, browser, and all other applications on your phone, laptop, and PC. Automatic updates can be turned on so that you don’t miss out on any of the critical updates. If you do want to have automatic updates, be extremely attentive when new upgrades are released.

Lastly, you must be extremely vigilant of offers that seek personal information for unlocking certain features or prize money. Nothing in life is completely free, so you should not expect a mysterious pop-up to make this wish come true. Usually, they are scams, designed to extract users’ private information.

Update Privacy Settings

Privacy settings must be updated for websites, social media accounts, search engines, and browsers. You can change the privacy settings by going to the menu Settings that can be found for almost all the applications.

As the default setting of all websites and applications is to share user data publicly, you must change the settings to hide your personal information from people you don’t know personally. It’s best to share your data with only those you know.

Over-sharing of personal data will make you vulnerable not only to cybercriminals. It will also increase the risks of falling victim to real-life criminals involved in burglary and petty crimes. You don’t want to share embarrassing materials like photos and statuses with strangers? Then, cut out the risk by frequently changing your timeline. Hence, it is always important to ensure that your private moments and milestones are shared with people you know and trust.

Of course, in this digital world, staying invisible isn’t easy. Even if you leave your social media accounts completely empty, the digital world knows about you a lot. From your shopping habits to the shows you watch: your ISP, marketing companies, and other entities can easily gather such data. In more restrictive counties, governments also partake in the surveillance of their citizens more closely than others. For instance, online stores might successfully profile you and present the best-suited products. Governments might choose to censor or otherwise regulate speech and content. Security and privacy advocates treat this as a privacy violation. Hence, many people attempt to circumvent these restrictions.

Block Cookies from Risky Websites

You must not take cookies lightly! Yes, you may block all third-party cookies on the browser to maintain anonymity while surfing the web. Then, websites will find it extremely difficult to track your online activities if you block the cookies. Luckily, you can make exceptions for some trusted websites and allow cookies. Exceptions are essential sometimes because many websites will struggle to provide their services without cookies. For instance, if you terminate cookies, some emailing services might refuse to connect you to your account. Hence, you should juggle the necessities and privacy.

Unlinking Multiple Accounts

There’s the option of linking multiple accounts with several websites, but this can be a risky proposition. If you’re not too knowledgeable about the privacy settings, simply unlink the linked accounts to protect your personal information. For instance, many mobile games offer the option to link your social media accounts with your game account. You should not do this: many games are unreliable and might abuse your data.

Antivirus and VPN Services

Communication over public Wi-Fi networks is risky as hackers and scammers are always looking for vulnerable networks. This can easily lead to data theft, and your personal information, including financial data, can fall into the hands of hackers. Thus, you must use a VPN to encrypt all your information exchanges over a network.

Most of the modern operating systems are equipped with an updated firewall, which can avert hacking efforts. However, you need more allies to protect you from malicious attackers or interceptions. Use Atlas VPN and you will able to secure all communications, even while being connected to a public Wi-Fi network. All the data packets exchanged using a VPN follow an end-to-end encryption routine. Hence, you will be able to prevent IP-based tracking and commercial profiling.

Use Strong Passwords

Never use weak or obvious passwords while creating accounts on various websites and online services. A strong password must be a complex combination of numbers, upper-case and lower-case letters, and special characters. The longer the combination, the more difficult it will be for hackers to crack it. Hence, always make long passwords that contain many unique letters. Avoid using words as they are easily guessable. Furthermore, avoid replicating patterns in your combinations. It might help you remember them more easily, but in reality, these patterns can be harmful. For instance, if one password gets leaked, hackers might use it as inspiration to hack into other accounts.

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