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How to protect your privacy and stay safe online

In today’s information age, data privacy and anonymity are now things of the past. Social media has conditioned most of us to become a little too comfortable with the information that we share.

From credit card details to pictures of family events, everyday we welcome complete strangers into our lives through our social media accounts.

Nowadays, information has become the new commodity with governments and advertisers all looking to get in on the action. Whether it is being used to monitor us or shape our opinions, data manipulation is a very real issue.

Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your privacy and anonymity as we will show you in this article.

 

Let’s start with:

1. Always be wary of what you post online

While apps such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed us to effortlessly express our thoughts and opinions, it’s always better to avoid sensitive posts.

As a rule of thumb, social media should only be used for socializing and staying in touch with friends and family. Avoid politically or racially charged posts and comments that may land you in hot water at a later point in time.

While we’re all entitled to expressing ourselves freely, you’ll never know who’s watching what you say. It could be a colleague with a grudge or a random stranger offended by a comment you made.

Perform a quick Google search and you’d be shocked by the number of people who have gotten fired all because of something they said or posted on social media.

 

  1. Use ad blockers

Ads are the bane of any internet surfer’s life. Imagine this; you’re enjoying a video on Youtube when you’re interrupted by one of those irritating “financial gurus” humble bragging about how they’ve made it big.

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Annoying isn’t it? Didn’t you just wish that you could block out those ads?

Thankfully, you can easily do this by downloading ad blocking software such as the aptly named AdBlock Plus.

Besides saving you from irritating ads, ad blockers can also protect your privacy by preventing advertisers from installing tracking software on your PC or device. As an added plus, you’re also making sure that those pesky advertisers can’t earn any ad revenue from you.

 

  1. Surf the net with a VPN

VPN or virtual private networks encrypt and scramble your data thus making you harder to track on the internet. This is done by altering your IP address and running your internet connection through a private tunnel.

VPNs are a great option for circumventing government censorship and hiding your location from any prying eyes.

While VPNs hide your data from internet service providers (ISPs), your browsing data is still being processed by the company that manages the VPN. This means that while your information is technically hidden, it can still be sold by your VPN service provider.

Where there are reputable VPN providers, you can’t exactly be 100% reliant on them.

 

  1. Communicate with decentralized messaging apps

Instant messaging apps have made it easier for us to stay connected with friends and loved ones at all times of the day.

However, when you think about it, the reality is much more disturbing.

Apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger are basically free-to-use services that process terabytes of information every second. From business messages to intimate chats between people, have we ever given pause to who may be reading our messages?

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Most of us were forced to confront this uncomfortable reality when Whatsapp announced a policy change that would force users to consent to sharing their information with Whatsapp’s parent company; Facebook.

While changes are largely related to how businesses communicate with customers on Whatsapp, shows us that our communications are actually being tracked by faceless corporations.

To overcome this, making the switch towards decentralized messaging apps that offer a variety of privacy-enhancing features is the way forwards.

These applications offer advanced data encryption that makes it nearly impossible to track or intercept messages between individuals. Thus letting you keep your private conversations private. You can check the best encrypted and decentralized messaging apps in this article: blog.tezro.com/best-decentralized-messaging-apps/

As we move forwards into the future, it will only become increasingly important for us to safeguard or data privacy. While minute, these simple steps will do much to keep you safe.

About the author

Venkatesan Prabu

Venkatesan Prabu

Wikitechy Founder, Author, International Speaker, and Job Consultant. My role as the CEO of Wikitechy, I help businesses build their next generation digital platforms and help with their product innovation and growth strategy. I'm a frequent speaker at tech conferences and events.

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