Over the last few months, the ExpressVPN Blog has interviewed some notable people in the field of online privacy and security.
As a sign-off, we’ll often ask for a quick tip that everyone can do immediately to improve their privacy. As these little info-nuggets are golden, we thought we’d make a list (plus add a few of our own).
Without further ado, then, here are 5 things you can do immediately to improve your online security.
1. Question your need for smart devices
Dr. Mark Burdon, a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law and co-inventor of the term “sensor society,” questions the need for all our smart gadgets, saying:
“Ask yourself: Do I really need to have a device that connects my fish tank or my toaster or my child’s toy or my light bulb, etc. etc. with my Wi-Fi or smartphone? Be aware of what you bring into the home and the risks of doing so. The best cybersecurity practice in that sense is to mitigate the risk before it emerges.”
2. Protect your logins
3. Privacy is not just for home
Our own security expert, Lexie, has some advice for those of us that dare leave our devices and venture out in public.
“Wear a hat.”
“I’m not joking,” she continued. “Hats will keep CCTV cameras and satellites from spying on you.”
“No, Johnny, it doesn’t have to be tinfoil!” Lexie confirmed, anticipating my next question.
4. Change your social media privacy settings
Seems obvious this one, but many people have committed—and been stung by—a social media faux pas. But it’s not just a righteous angry mob or offended future employers that might trawl your internet ramblings for information.
Advertisers search for contact details on the internet so as better to spam you with their wares. Scam artists do the same when looking for a quick buck.
And of course, the CIA, FBI, and police are known to keep tabs on people via social media accounts.
How to change your Facebook privacy settings
- Click the down arrow in the top right corner
- Select Settings
- On the left-hand column, go to Privacy
We recommend you Limit Past Posts, allow only Friends to see your profile, and select No to not appear in search engine results.
How to change your Twitter privacy settings
- Click your account avatar in the top right
- Select Settings and privacy
- On the left-hand column, go to Privacy and safety
You can now alter who can find you on Twitter, tag you in posts, and even see your Tweets.
If you want to be super secure, why not get rid of your social media and be free from all the notifications and spam? ExpressVPN’s guide to deleting accounts will show you how to be permanently rid of Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, and more.
5. Protect your phone with a secure password
Face recognition and fingerprint scanners are no doubt convenient and fancy, but they aren’t as safe as a good old-fashioned password.
Criminals and even police forces can—and do—hack a phone with your face or fingers, but they cannot make you give up a password that you store in your head.
A 6-digit alphanumeric password offers nearly two billion possible permutations and is plenty to stave off all but the most advanced brute-force attacks.
Sure up your defenses and stay safe online
So there you have it, 5 simple things you can do right now to improve your privacy.
What do you do to make sure your data stays your data? Any tips you wish to share? Let us know in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.