Protecting your privacy when online

These days, internet businesses and organisations expect us to share more of our data online than ever before. From social media to simple searching and web browsing, all kinds of demands reach us when it comes to how we actually use the internet. Not only that, but when we access the internet, we are regularly coming into contact with hackers and malicious code.

There is also the fact that some social networks have been less than careful with our data in the past.  Facebook, for example, came under fire in recent times for data breaches affecting more than a quarter of a million people.

Therefore, staying private online has never been more important. However, that seems to be getting harder and harder to do. Despite the fact that more websites and social networks demand our data, there are a few things you can do to take control of the information and to effectively manage your privacy online.

Look for HTTPS

HTTPS is the secure protocol that all good websites should stand by. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTP indicates that it is running on a secure platform, which means that the site and therefore your data, are protected from hacking. There are still plenty of sites out there which use basic HTTP, but it’s not worth the risk of filling out any forms or sharing any data with them.

Read site terms and certificates

A good way to stay as private as possible online is, of course, to ensure you read terms and conditions. For example, if you visit an online casino, once you’ve had a good look around at the games and have figured out how bonus wagering works, it’s a good idea to read up on any available privacy policies. They should be clear for you to view.

By clicking on the left-hand side of your browser’s address bar, you’ll be able to see whether or not a site’s security certificate is up to date. This, much like HTTPS, indicates that a site and any data passed through it are as secure as possible.

Don’t accept cookies unless you need to

Cookies have been the bane of internet browsing for over 20 years. Ultimately, a cookie is going to ensure that your future visit to a website istailored to your personal needs and demands. It’ll help a site to remember how you use it and what you expect from it in general.

However, thanks to sweeping new rules in terms of cookies and GDPR, it’s now up to you whether or not a site sets you cookies or not. You can reject these as soon as you visit a website. All sites should now give you a splash screen or message which asks you whether or not you want to accept cookies and to continue browsing.

If you value your privacy over your site experience, make sure you decline cookies. This is important – think carefully about whether or not the data you provide is worth the experience you get!

Keep data input low

With the internet now being such an integral part of our lives, it’s perhaps second nature for many of us to start sharing information that might otherwise be super-sensitive. For example, be very careful about sharing any data which could help hackers or other web users to unlock your security credentials. Don’t ever give away your date of birth and, of course, you should keep your address and full name private if you can.

Avoid social media quizzes

One of the biggest ways to lose data online is through social media. Did you know, however, that those fun little quizzes you can play are often fronts for data harvesting? Once you agree to sign up for certain apps and games on Facebook, for example, you could be giving a lot of data away.

Therefore, while it may seem fun to find out who your perfect celebrity match is, it’s really not worth losing your data.

Go private on social media

Of course, you should also be careful to go private on social media. You can set Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to private mode, meaning that you won’t have to worry about anyone other than verified friends accessing your accounts.

You’ll soon find on services such as Instagram that bots and spammers tag and follow you in an attempt to steal data and personal details. Therefore, be data smart – and keep everything locked down.

Staying safe and private online isn’t difficult! In some cases, you might need to cut back on a few social media standards, but it is all worth it in the long run.