How to Protect Your Privacy Online

How to Protect Your Privacy Online

In the last decade, not only big companies but also individual users have suffered countless data breaches, information leaks, phishing attacks, and other online hazards. In our everyday lives, we routinely check for traffic before crossing a street: we should practice everyday safety awareness in the same way for our digital lives, as well.

To maintain data security and protect our privacy, we have to take care of our accounts and devices and bravely consider – and prepare for – the potential of a worst-case scenario: a major data breach.

Security and privacy are interconnected: we need to adopt similar best practices to protect both. To stay safe and hold cyberattacks at bay, and the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention have prepared the following recommendations for protecting your privacy online.

Remember: if you have uncovered malicious data that you would like to share in our eCX clearing house, contact us at APWG maintains eCX as a not-for-profit data clearinghouse that mediates exchange of cybercrime threat data among our stakeholders. It is a tool for both reporters and responders to manage cybercrime event data exchange in any given response scenario they can design and maintain.

  • Minimise your online footprint
    • Do not overshare online: attackers might be able to more easily access your sensitive information.
  • Deactivate auto-fill
    • It is a convenient feature, but it makes us more vulnerable. Auto-fill data might be stored in an unsecure location.
  • 2FA
    • Most financial institutions, social networks, and other services offer the option of two-factor authentication. Although it is a bit more time-consuming, enable it whenever possible, as you will be notified of any third-party intrusions.
  • Do not download/install suspicious docs, apps, links, etc.
    • Install the apps only from official websites you have personally verified through multiple channels. Double-check the addressee and the content of email before downloading any docs.
  • Use a unique, strong password
    • A strong password is crucial: cybercriminals can evade even difficult passwords, so do not make their lives easier. As statistics show, they usually exploit weak passwords (‘Adm 1234,’ e.g.).
  • Disable ad- and data-tracking and deactivate search engines’ tracking functions
    • Advertisers track your digital behavior and browsing habits to observe your preferences through different tools like cookies, web trackers, and others.
  • Keep installed software up-to-date
    • To prevent being compromised by the latest cyber threats, install new security features and patches, and update software using only the official software developers´ websites.
  • Reconsider privacy settings for online accounts
    • Some privacy settings allow us to choose whether or not we give consent for the collection of our data, and how our personal information is used. It is crucial to set privacy settings that we are comfortable with on social media, online services, devices and browsers. If in doubt, just default to the most restrictive settings possible.
  • Use an alternative email for online shopping and other activities
    • To enjoy an easy and comfortable online shopping experience, it is better to use an alternative email account to avoid mixing shopping activity with more private data and work data.
  • Use a secure VPN
    • To avoid being snooped-on by untrustworthy Wi-Fi hotspots and to get some online anonymity, we recommend using a VPN.

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