It’s never been more important to protect your privacy. Yahoo, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and the US Dept. of Justice were just a few of the enormous agencies hit with data breaches recently. In order to help keep you (and your private information) out of reach, here are three simple tips you can use to help stay anonymous online.
1. Make sure you’re using stronger passwords
The first step toward keeping your private information safe is making sure your passwords are up to snuff. Did you know that over 55 percent of people use the same password for every site? Just image the damage that could be done if someone was to gain access to one of your networks. Think of it like a set of Dominos–one piece falls and the rest will surely come toppling over. Keep your information out of reach by making sure you’re using stronger passwords.
- Make sure you’re using at least 8-12 random characters
- Add a combination of letters and numbers, with at least one uppercase character
- Never use the same password twice. (If you’re having trouble keeping track of multiple passwords, then consider using something like LastPass to help keep track for you.)
2. Use an Add Blocker
We’re living in an age where we’re constantly being barraged by advertisements. Whether they’re the billboards we see driving to work, the banners ads we see online, or the commercials we see on TV, our exposure to advertisements is at an all-time high. In fact, most online advertisements today may be popping up without us even realizing it. Web cookies are tracking our every movement online–from the sites we visit to the purchases we make–and they’re becoming more evolved. Unfortunately, while most ads are harmless, some may contain malware or other viruses that have been known to infect our computers and give hackers an entryway into our public networks. Using an ad blocker helps keep these pesky (and often dangerous) ads at bay. They work behind the scenes to help stop pesky and often slow-loading ads on the web pages we visit, thereby not only helping pages load faster but also keeping us safe from nefarious ads.
3. Use a VPN
Short for virtual private network, a VPN works as your first (and strongest) line of defense in helping defend your privacy online. When you connect to a VPN server, your information becomes encrypted and your geographic location becomes anonymous. You’re able to browse the web from anywhere in the world. In fact, while a growing number of people use VPNs to browse anonymously, many also use them to unblock websites that may not have been available due to geographic restrictions. Ever tried to watch a YouTube video but couldn’t because the content wasn’t available in your area? A VPN can help.
By utilizing these three tips, you’ll help anonymize your online network and hopefully browse the web with greater efficiency.
Stay safe and stay private online.