How to Keep Your Information Private Online: The Importance of Internet Privacy

It’s becoming harder and harder to keep your private information safe and secure online with technology today. Common concerns including identity theft, hacking, and surveillance are what’s causing more and more people to take their online presence and security seriously. A study by Javelin Strategy revealed that approximately 17 million Americans have been impacted by identity theft. Many people don’t know that there are simple and easy ways to ensure their privacy and security online.

What is Internet or Online Privacy?

Internet privacy, or online privacy, is a basic human right that protects you and your personal information from being stored or used by a third party. Without internet security, your information can be used, tracked, and shared with others websites and people.

What are Tracking Cookies?

Tracking cookies are text files dropped on a browser that record movements including purchases, preferences, search history, and more . This is a common way that websites and advertisements track your online movements. Have you ever searched for something online and then 30 minutes saw an ad for it while you were scrolling social media? That’s due to tracking cookies.

These cookies are designed to help tailor your experience online and help you find information and products you’re looking for. However, some people see this as an invasion of privacy, but cookies cannot be used without your consent.

Does Social Media Track Your Browsing History?

Social media apps including Facebook often track your browsing history and can sell the data to advertisers and other third party users. A lot of these features can be limited or turned off through the application or social media website.

Why is Internet Privacy Important?

Internet and online privacy are a basic human right that everyone should be entitled to. If we didn’t have laws or restrictions around internet privacy then everything including your credit card information, medical history, and bank accounts would be available for everyone to see.

Internet privacy and security are crucial to preventing your information from being public and there are a lot of ways to ensure you stay safe online.

How to Protect Yourself Online

Delete Your Browser Cookies

When you visit websites you’ll notice a text box at the bottom of the page for you to consent and allow tracking cookies on the page. A great way to stay safe online is to delete these cookies regularly or program your browser to delete them when you close out of the window. This will help keep you and your information safe and secure online.

Use Different Passwords for Login Credentials

Many people today use the same or similar passwords for their login credentials for many different sites. You should always use different passwords with a strong mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters for each of your passwords.

Install an Anti-Virus Program and Enable a Firewall

A great way to prevent your information by being stolen through harmful websites and scams is by installing an anti-virus program on your computer or device. This will help to ensure that your personal information is protected and can’t be targeted. Many devices also come with a built in firewall into the operating system. Ensure that it is enabled to help keep your computer secure.

Pay Attention to Terms & Conditions

Many people skim over the “Terms & Conditions” of specific products and software, but there are often details in the fine print that we miss. For example, WhatsApp is a secure messaging platform that ensures that they don’t share information or data, but in the fine print it mentions that they share data with their parent company Facebook.

Adjust Your Social Media Settings

Many social media sites can track and use your browsing history, but many offer features in their security or privacy settings to limit ad targeting and provide a more secure experience. Explore your privacy and security features on your social media apps to ensure you’re secure.

Log Out of Websites

A simple, yet effective way to remain secure online is by logging out of websites after you’re done using them. By staying logged in, you expose yourself and your personal information becomes vulnerable to hackers.

Update Your Software

We often ignore software updates or press “Update Later” when we see an update on our computer, but we highly recommend keeping all applications and software up to date. Out of date applications can be highly vulnerable to hackers seeking your personal information.

Avoid Phishing Emails

Phishing is a scam created by hackers that imitate emails from professional companies to steal your personal information. These emails are made to look very similar, if not exactly like a specific company's email. Some common ways to identify a phishing scam is if the email is claiming there’s something wrong with a product payment, asking you to confirm personal information from a site, or by offering free coupons.

Use Secure Messaging Services

The Shazzle platform offers a peer to peer network with end to end encryption to help you communicate quickly and securely. The Shazzle suite of products includes ShazzleChat, ShazzleMail, and ShazzlePay. ShazzleChat is a great way to send and keep your text communications secure while ShazzleMail is a great option to share large files securely. Finally, ShazzlePay is a secure digital wallet for all of your credit and debit cards.

Share Files Securely

Another easy way to ensure privacy and security online is by password protecting files before you send them. ShazzleMail offers a secure peer to peer (P2P) network to safely and securely send large and important files.

While it may seem like internet privacy and security is going away, many new companies and technologies are appearing to help users ensure their online presence is safe and secure. There are many ways to keep yourself safe online and minimize your risk and exposure.

All of us here at Shazzle believe that privacy is one of the most basic human rights and your online presence should always be secure. Our suite of products for text, email, and pay can help you ensure your security when you’re online.