Today, technology has pervaded ordinary lives in ways unimaginable. You simply cannot do without it, whether you want to shop for groceries, help kids do their homework, stream their favorite movie, get the latest news, or even catch up with friends and family.
All these modern-day conveniences come at a lesser-known cost to privacy. Without your knowledge, you and your family could be losing control over your digital safety and data footprint in more ways than one. Cyberspace is rife with data threats, from identity theft to digital scams, all using personal data. Meanwhile, businesses, even legitimate ones, are constantly finding ways to get their hands on online users’ personal information, primarily to satiate their own agendas and profit-making plans.
Ensuring digital privacy could be a never-ending struggle in such an environment. But it doesn’t have to be so. If you want to amp up your family’s privacy and safety online, here are the essential measures to follow.
1. Strengthen Password Security
Password protection is the easiest safety defense available for all your accounts, files, and devices. Yet poor password practices are at the root of 81% of hacking-related data breaches. For many people, they are a hassle for apparent reasons: login credentials are nearly impossible to remember, and to make matters worse, there are way too many of them in use.
But a proactive approach to password security is critical to protect your family’s privacy online. Here are a few essential best practices to note:
● Avoid setting up the same password for more than one account. By using the same or similar login details, you could compromise several accounts in case of a single breach.
● Make them difficult to guess by combining letters, numbers, and special characters. Choosing birthdays and names is a common mistake that hackers often count on.
● Use two-factor authentication where ever it is available. It applies a second verification, often with a passcode sent to your phone or email address, making it extra difficult for cybercriminals to infiltrate your accounts.
● Opt for a secure password manager to make managing your family’s online accounts easier. It is an excellent solution for organizing login information without writing them down in notebooks.
2. Use a Virtual Private Network
Browsing the internet with a virtual private network
, better known as VPN, is another essential measure to protect your family from digital prying. A VPN allows you to hide your device’s IP address and mask your network data through encryption. It prevents online retailers, social media sites, apps, advertisers, governments, hackers, and anyone else feeling curious from connecting your online activities back to you.
A VPN can create a safer environment for you and your family to browse the internet with improved privacy, especially when you use public Wi-Fi.
3. Review Data Sharing Practices
Reckless sharing is one of the most damaging outcomes of today’s presumptuous social media culture. For many people, posting photos and other personal information hardly demands a second thought. But what you share could attract trolls, scammers, and other bad actors, severely compromising your family’s privacy.
Even a simple photo of your child’s birthday celebrations could give out more information than you think: it might reveal their name and date of birth, names of friends and family, and even where you live.
Remember, cybercriminals often extract critical personal information from different sources, which they painstakingly piece together when targeting victims. So, mindful sharing is imperative, not just on social media. Even what you share in a WhatsApp group could travel a long way beyond its original recipient. So, take a 360-degree view of your family’s sharing habits and practice caution.
Another data threat that counts on hasty sharing habits is phishing. This type of attack may appear in an email, text message, or phone call, often in the guise of a familiar organization or individual, such as a retailer you recently purchased from or even a family member. Scammers typically use phishing scams to trick their victims into divulging personal data, which may include social security numbers, login credentials, and bank account details.
Identifying these traps is not always easy. This is why verifying the source of a request before responding or sharing information is crucial. For instance, you can reach out to the relevant organization to confirm an email’s authenticity. If you suspect a voice phishing or vishing incident, look up the contact number on PhoneHistory
to identify its owner.
4. Opt for Anti-Virus Software
Virus guards can shield devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and tabs from malicious viruses. They can prevent malware attacks, scan external devices, warn you about harmful websites, scan your email attachments, and provide a host of other features for added protection.
Once installed, your virus guard should be kept up-to-date, together with all your other software. Regular updates can provide essential patches against security flaws and add new features to boost overall safety.
5. Physical Protection
Compromised digital privacy is not always the result of technology-led threats and errors. Sometimes, it could happen due to physical theft. For instance, losing a phone could lead to critical personal data falling into a stranger’s hands. Even leaving open a confidential document, such as a bank statement, on your laptop in a public place could trigger a similar risk.
Therefore, safeguarding your digital data from loss, theft, and unnecessary intrusion is vital to ensure privacy. Passwords naturally play an important role in this. Biometric solutions that use fingerprints and facial recognition are also becoming increasingly popular today. These can offer an added layer of security using unique identifiers.
Your family’s digital privacy could constantly be under threat with the fast adoption of technological solutions in modern-day life, from work and school to entertainment
and socializing. But with sufficient security measures, you can minimize them in the long run.
A deliberate effort to strengthen password security, adopting a VPN for browsing, setting up anti-virus software, and keeping it up-to-date is essential to protect personal data and safeguard your family’s privacy
. Other imperative measures include reviewing data-sharing practices, adopting a more cautious approach, and ensuring physical device safety.