In the digital world where sharing where you are/what you’re currently up to has already become a natural impulse, personal privacy is constantly at risk. Tagged as the biggest celebrity nude hack of the century, the latest 4chan photo scandal involving Academy award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and other Hollywood stars prods us to sharpen our knowledge of online security, so that we won’t be victims of the same cybercrime. Arm yourself with these 8 practical tools to keep your personal life away from unwanted online surveillance.
Do you know the formula for a strong password? Combining uppercase and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create an 8-letter phrase or word (at the very least) that you can effortlessly recall can do the trick. This video best explains it: How To Create A Strong Password?.
Sounds simple and doable, right? But, what if you’re juggling 4 social media profiles, 3 online bank accounts, 2 emails, and 2 blogs? Given that the rule of thumb in forming solid passwords is to make each of them unique for every account that you have, and to change each one of them every 3 months, do you think you can handle it? Most likely, you’ll be too busy (or lazy) to even try.
To make your life a breeze but your accounts impermeable, the most basic weapon you can use against hackers is a strong password generator. Free password manager apps like Last Pass and Direct Pass can help you craft indecipherable passwords using various combinations that you can customize and dictate. Data in these kinds of software are all encrypted, ensuring that absolutely no one will ever know the keys to your digital kingdom.
Of course, you can always opt to just create a complex password on your own. However, based on experience, it’s painstakingly difficult to remember and maintain them in multiple web services and accounts.
With malicious hackers relentlessly exposing people’s credentials online, strong passwords aren’t enough to keep us safe. Strengthen your first layer of defense by taking advantage of multi-factor authentication present in most web applications, like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo. Requiring your app to ask for another credential, such as a code sent to your mobile phone or a fingerprint, before accessing your accounts lessens the risk of leak and intrusion. A hacker may slyly guess your password, but they will also need your phone or your fingers to get through the digital locks protecting your stuff in the cloud.
Most browsers allow private browsing on desktop and mobile. Use it. The incognito mode shuts down all the pre-installed web trackers that automatically record what you do online. You can easily find the private browsing option in the Tools, Settings, or Options menu of your preferred browser.
There are a bunch of browser add-ons that can help toughen your privacy online. Most of them disable cookies and trackers that automatically save whatever you do online, while there are also some that restrict the social media buttons that sends your personal data to social networking sites like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Try out these awesome browser plug-ins recommended by Tech expert Allan Henry.
If you want to send a message containing highly confidential content, use self-annihilating messaging services, like Burn Note and Privnote. These special services delete all traces of your message after the recipient reads it. This way, you can be absolutely certain that no one else reads your note but the intended trustee.
Anonymizers are proxy avoidance tools that make your online activity untraceable. This badass tool hides any information that reveals your computer’s IP address, location, and other details that sum up your computer or mobile’s identity. Here’s a reliable list of anonymizes that you can try: Top 25 Anonymizer Sites.
It can’t be stressed enough: social media sites have default privacy features that you can simply tweak to gain more control over what people sees about you. Explore these features and tinker with your account settings to increase your level of privacy online.
Using privacy scanners and free protection software updates you on the latest privacy settings feature of the apps and websites that you use. They give relevant recommendations to improve your online safety and identify what type of information your apps gather about you. Install one in your computer and mobile to “download” peace of mind.

Czyka Tumaliuan

Czyka Tumaliuan juggles corporate hustle with freelance writing, custom catering and motherhood. She works as an eLearning specialist for multinational IT company Trend Micro.

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