With our world rapidly digitizing, more of our personal information is being exposed online. Yet many people remain unaware of how organizations track their online activities and use their data. Those who are aware may not know what they can do to protect themselves. Digital security becomes more critical each year. We rely on iPhone and Android apps for social networking, entertainment, workouts, and navigation, but all these apps are difficult to trust. There’s no exact way to tell at face value if an application is tracking your activities, and no protection is guaranteed in today’s world of ever-changing technology. An app that promises data privacy today could turn against you tomorrow if the company behind the app is sold, alters its direction, or is compromised because of a flaw.
Here are a few data privacy tips to help keep your data safe:
Update Security and App Permissions Settings
Sometimes security settings come preset with new phones without our knowledge. As a user, you must explore the security settings and adjust them; accordingly, this could include turning off location services, adjusting what apps can view your personal information, or even disabling automatic connections to open networks.
Double-check which permissions apps ask for, an app asking for access to information that is not relevant to its purpose is a red flag. For instance, ask yourself whether it makes sense for an app like the pocket calculator to request access to your location and contact list.
Use Password Manager
At some point in our life, we have kept the same passwords across different accounts and devices. A common but dangerous practice for users like us, as this habit can lure cybercriminals to exploit our vulnerabilities. If you are someone who cannot remember different passwords for different platforms, use a password manager. Password managers are responsible for keeping all your passwords in one place within a password-protected app. They also generate strong passwords that you may use for any apps on your smartphone.
Also read: Cybersecurity Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid
Avoid Over-sharing on Social Media
Sharing your day-to-day activities on social media platforms may seem simple and mindless to do. It is easy to share personal details that may appear harmless. It is wise to limit the amount of information you share on social media platforms, regardless of what the social media site asks for to complete your profile. The more data you share, the more data is available for advertisers to create personalized advertisements for you. It is essential to check your social media privacy settings. Change the settings if something is public and you want it to be private.
Use a VPN
If you prefer to use free Wi-Fi or an open network on your phone instead of using your data, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a great way to protect online privacy and secure digital information. It can also mask your data transmissions, avoid censorship and filtering online, and allows you to access a variety of content that would generally be limited in an open network.
Most public networks lack proper security precautions to protect people using them. Hence, use a VPN whenever possible and ensure you download one on your smartphone for safer online browsing.
Keep Software Up to Date
Make time to update your smartphone and its apps to keep your data safe. The updates are there for a reason: they let you stay ahead of hackers and any ongoing attacks they’re carrying out across the internet. If you constantly forget to update your phone’s operating system, adjust your smartphone’s setting to update automatically. However, you’ll need to update the apps on your phone manually.
Cybersecurity can seem intimidating for those who are not interested in the technical aspects of technology or who don’t have a knack for online data privacy features. While security measures and trends evolve yearly, take some time to read about software updates, security protocols, and blogs like the one you’re reading now. The more you learn and understand what you are using, the better your cybersecurity knowledge will be.
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