Top 5 computer privacy issues and how to avoid them

No matter in which corner of the world you’re in, you need the internet for many things. Whether you’re a student doing your research, a graduate looking for a job, or even a single guy looking for a date – everything’s on the internet. 

But with the internet come several privacy concerns. If you’re on the internet, you cannot ignore these threats. If you think you don’t need privacy because you’re a regular individual with nothing to hide, you’re wrong.

While you might think your data doesn’t hold any value for anyone, the truth is that companies like Google and Facebook are ready to pay millions of dollars for data of unsuspecting people like you.

Let’s discuss some computer privacy issues that you can face and ways to avoid them.

1. Identity theft

Identity theft can cause legal and financial problems. When you leave your data anywhere, make sure it’s a secure place. Don’t leave your name, date of birth, email address, and phone number on just about any website. 

Also, make sure you check your credit reports regularly. If anyone is using your credit card, you must know on time. Your passwords should be strong and should not be easily guessed. Go for 2FA on all accounts so even if someone does get access to your passwords, they’re unable to log into your accounts.

2. Website tracking

All websites use cookies. But since the rules have changed, now you need to click on Accept before they store cookies on your device. To stay safe, you can open your browser in incognito mode. This way, whenever you close the window, the cookies stored by these websites will be deleted automatically. 

An even better way is to use a browser that always operates in incognito mode, like the Kingpin browser. So you don’t have to remember to open an incognito window each time.

3. Tracking by companies and government

We use Google and Facebook “for free.” How exactly do these companies operate? How do they earn profits? Google and Facebook sell our data to third parties to earn money. They carry out extensive tracking of our data and make billions in profits.

And then there’s the government. The governments in almost all countries track the data of their residents. It might seem harmless at first but keep in mind that the government employees keeping a track of your information are real people. If someone among them doesn’t like you or has a secret crush on you, they can use this information in unethical ways.

To make sure your activities are not tracked by big companies, the only thing you can do is not give them information about you. The more photos you post on Facebook and the more posts you add, the more it knows about you. Similarly, when you use Google to search for something, it knows what you want.

If you don’t want to be tracked by big companies, use private services instead of “free” spying ones. Use private search engines and private email clients and chat engines.

And to avoid being tracked by the government, you should use a VPN. With a VPN, your data is encrypted so the ISPs or the government cannot read what data you’re sending out.

4. Phishing attacks

Phishing is the most common type of hacking attack. In this, the hacker doesn’t need to have technical knowledge. They depend on the gullibility of their victims. Often, they send out emails with infected links.

When someone clicks on the link, it might install malware or a keylogger on their device. This will further steal all passwords of the user. This will enable the hacker to withdraw money from the bank account of the user.

Make sure you don’t trust on just any website or email. Also, don’t click on suspicious links. If you think a particular mail isn’t from the right source, don’t open it.

5. Location tracking

There are many apps in your device that track your location. While some of them are genuine, others can be used by hackers to keep a track of where you are. What if they get to know that you’re traveling and there’s nobody back home? It can be dangerous for you and your family.

Even genuine apps can be hacked by cybercriminals to learn about people’s locations. To avoid this, keep your location off when it’s not needed. Also, when you give an app the permission to track your location, make sure it can track you only when the app is active and doesn’t let it track in the background.

How private is your online surfing?

According to a survey conducted by McAfee (consisting of 6400 people from all over the world), 52% of people don’t know how to secure their connected devices.

These connected devices could be anything connected to your home Wi-Fi. For example, your mobile phones, laptops, gaming devices, and even smart fridges and smartwatches.

Also, the survey discovered that over 40% of people don’t even change their default passwords. So if their ISP sets up a router for them, they won’t change the default password for it. This means anyone can not just connect to the network but also hack it and see all your activities.

Of these respondents, about 33% think that they cannot do anything about the data that’s being collected by big companies. They aren’t aware that there are certain settings that can be changed to control how the company collects or uses their data.

Of course, it can be difficult to find out the right settings – after all, big companies don’t want to stop collecting information about you. But there are settings and it’s possible to limit the tracking being done.

Are you making any of the mistakes mentioned here? Make sure you stay safe by changing your settings and by following safe practices for internet use. Also, there are certain tools that you can use.

A VPN will keep you safe from government and ISP tracking. Anti-malware software will keep you safe from hackers trying to install keyloggers on your device. And incognito mode will protect you from website tracking. Of course, you can make things even simpler by getting an incognito browser such as Kingpin.

Stay safe as you enter the new year!