Companies and advertisers keep collecting private data of users and use the information to attract them towards their products/services. They use a series of advanced technologies to gather information on your location, browsing habits, purchasing habits, and more. Some technologies also allow them to gain access to the private data of potential consumers such as their social security number, contact details, credit card details, etc.
You have searched for a comb on your favorite eCommerce website and from the very next minute, you are seeing ads promoting combs of different brands appearing on your screen whenever you visit a website. This is something that happens to us every day. Are you wondering how those advertisers came to know about your need? Companies and advertisers spy on you 24/7 to gather such information.
The only way you can prevent these events and protect your digital identity is by maintaining proper online hygiene. The section below talks about some effective steps you can take.
1. Use an Encrypted Network
You must remember that whenever you use an unencrypted connection you are allowing hackers to keep an eye on everything you are doing online. They can see things you are buying, the number of times you are visiting a website, the types of links you are clicking, and more.
This means the use of unencrypted connection results in loss of privacy, personal details such as contact info, profession, and demography, as well as sensitive private data like bank details, credit card info, etc. By making so much information public, you are making yourself highly susceptible to cyberattacks and events like identity thefts and financial frauds.
The best solution to the above problems is using a VPN or Virtual Private Network. A VPN will work by masking your IP address and encrypting online traffic. As a result, hackers or third parties with malicious intents will have a very hard time trying to track your online activities. Learn more here about what is a VPN.
2. Create Multiple Digital Identities
If you keep using the same email id and phone number for all kinds of communications, getting hold of digital identity would become extremely easy for hackers.
You will have to diversify your contact info if you want to protect your digital identity. Create at least four email ids and use each for different purposes. This will help you to protect your digital identity effectively.
Use the first one to communicate with government bodies, banks, and your employer. Use the second id to exchange messages with dental clinics, garages, shops, and other such offline recipients. The third one should host communications between you and your friends and relatives. The fourth and final email id should be used for registrations and subscriptions.
Recommended: How To Send An Encrypted Email
3. Change Your Passwords with Passphrases
We often fail to create passwords that are strong enough to keep hackers and other malevolent entities at bay. It’s important that you get rid of all the passwords that only contain a phone number or a dear one’s name right away. They are of no use. Replace those passwords with passphrases.
A passphrase includes several words, which makes it extremely difficult (almost impossible) for hackers to bust through it. Make sure you generate those words randomly. A passphrase must contain a minimum of 16 characters.
The passphrase picked by you should be different for every website and online service you use. However, it has to be admitted that remembering so many combinations will be difficult. So, to avoid confusion, you must use a credible password manager. The tool will store all your passphrases in a secured database.
4. Use Two-Factor Authentication
It’s relatively easier for experienced hackers to burst through a single-step authentication procedure that requires users just to enter their login id and password. So, many modern online service providers have made two-factor authentication mandatory. There are also services that offer two-factor authentication as an optional feature.
Once you enable two-factor authentication on your account, the system will not allow you to gain access to the account just by entering the password. Whenever you will try to log into your account, you will receive a confirmation code or link in your email or phone. You will be able to access your account only after clicking that link or entering that code.
5. Install an Antivirus and Enable It
If you keep browsing the Internet without an antivirus, your laptop or computer will be at high risk of getting infected by viruses, malware, and trojans. These unwanted entities will steal data from your system and compromise your digital identity.
Dealing with this problem is easy. You will only need to install a powerful antivirus. The top anti-viruses of the current generation are multifunctional programs. They are capable of dealing with and defeating all kinds of threats. The best thing about modern anti-viruses is that they can identify menaces much before they attack a system and ward them off immediately.
For best results, don’t forget to make sure that your antivirus gets updated regularly.
If you don’t want to get flooded with irritating ads or fall prey to identity theft, you must take steps to protect your digital identity. The five tips discussed above will make the job easier for you.