In this era we are living, protecting your privacy online is a must, if you want to stay safe from the world’s evils. The internet has become an essential resource for all of us, as we rely on it to send and receive emails, post and share photos and messages across various social media platforms, transact online, communicate, network, search for information among other tasks. Spots such as free public Wi-Fi hotspots are also very common. Unfortunately, some of us are too casual or rather a bit reckless to ensure that we are secure online.
As you visit a website, post an update on social media, login to your email or do any online activity, you leave digital footprints that can be tracked and traced to reveal your identity. If your personal and private information falls into wrong hands, it could be very costly and damaging to you. It could equally cause a lot of inconveniences.
Who is Watching and Tracking You?
Every time you go online to read your emails, update your status on social media, visit forums and other places, your activities can be monitored and spied upon by many people. Your internet service provider can have access to your digital footprints. Your ISP assigns an IP address to your device every time you want to connect to the internet. And since your ISP knows your IP address, they can equally identify your name and location.
Others who have access to your information include advertisers and corporations. Your online information is very valuable to these people. Companies mine your data as it helps advertisers know which products and services they should promote and sell to you.
Others who have access to your online information include your employer, hackers and cybercriminals and the government. The government may be spying on you. They may also demand certain information from companies such as Google in its efforts to issues of national security.
Ways to Protect Your Online Identity
The fact remains that you probably won’t have a total control over who are monitoring and spying on you online. However, there are certain steps you can take to reduce the risks. The more informed you become on the tools and methods of protection available, the more you can do to reduce these risks online.
First, do an assessment of your online activities. Identify the types of private and personal information you are storing and sharing on your computers, social media, and mobile devices. How safe are these places you are storing your information? What would be the consequences if your personal information falls into wrong hands?
Install the latest antivirus software on your devices. Also, keep in mind that antivirus software protects only your devices and not your internet connection. If you want to surf anonymously, use a personal VPN- a virtual private network that protects your computer and secures your browsing session. Also, be very careful about what you share online as such information can be used against you. Follow various safety rules provided by companies while in use of their services.