Professional cybercriminals operate to compromise your online identity in order to steal your or your employer’s intellectual property to steal identities or hold your personal data for ransom. To prevent a data breach and data loss, listen to expert insights on protecting your computer and mobile devices.
Data loss prevention and personal information protection begin with a secure device.
Most people understand only the basics of safety and privacy when going online, such as a secure connection and antivirus protection. However, it is not enough to password protect everything, particularly if you use weak passwords, and it is easy to guess your username and password. To effectively protect your personal system, you need layers of protection.
Proper system security begins with a verified secure device (including safe hardware and an intended boot experience). Still, cyber criminals know how to manipulate a system regardless of how bulletproof their code is. Luckily, there are software solutions and security tools to protect your system. Here are some essential tools to protect your online identity and personal system.
1. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
VPNs are a traditional way of keeping your data secure and shielding your internet use from ISPs (Internet Service Providers) because they create an encrypted tunnel from your device to the ISP’s servers. After installing a VPN, your IP address and device become invisible to your primary ISP when browsing the Internet. The only one who can still see your activity and know your ISP IP is the VPN provider. You could use a free VPN, but most of them are packed with ads, while others could be phishing scammers disguised as a VPN. A monthly subscription to a good VPN won’t cost you more than $10, which is pocket money compared to the benefits it brings.
Some of the best VPNs on the market are NordVPN, IPVanish, ProtonVPN, PureVPN, and Cyberghost. They all offer solid features and are all worthy of your consideration.
2. Fraud Monitoring Tools
If you conduct quite a few online transactions on web sites as part of your work process, you should install a good fraud monitoring tool that will help protect your infrastructure from fraud. It has become more difficult to identify fraud by traditional methods (which usually rely on data analysis) because of the growing volume of transactions. It has also become less reasonable to expect that users can defend themselves against increasingly sophisticated fraud attempts. Fraud monitoring tools, such as the one by Consumer Affinity, are structured to ensure maximum protection for your infrastructure. The service includes services such as Credit and Fraud Monitoring, Fully Assisted Identity Restoration Services, Lost Wallet Assistance, and a $1 million no deductible Identity Theft Insurance Policy. It combines fraud and credit monitoring with a community platform that helps educate and inform you, and their solutions include Android and iOS apps.
3. Spyware Removal Tools
For those who don’t know, spyware is a type of malware that plants itself inside a system with the purpose of collecting personal info without the user knowing. It can come in different forms, such as an email attachment or “legitimate” download that will monitor your keystrokes to steal your passwords. Some of the best spyware removal tools you should consider are Malwarebytes, Emsisoft Emergency Kit, and SUPERAntiSpyware. These apps can scan your hard drive, memory, ZIP folders, archives, and emails to detect any malware on your computer, including adware, spyware, dialers, trojans, keyloggers, worms, and rootkits.
4. Privacy Search Engines
If you decide not to go with a VPN that will hide your Internet activity, you can start using a privacy search engine. It’s free because you don’t have to purchase or install anything. DuckDuckGo and Oscobo UK search are two great privacy search engines. DuckDuckGO stops information leakage by default, which means that websites you visit will not get your IP address. As for Oscobo, it returns UK-related search results by default, while DuckDuckGo’s SERPs are based on Bing and Yahoo.
5. Privacy Browsers
Unlike Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, running Mozilla Firefox in privacy or incognito mode will prevent your ISP from monitoring your activity. Firefox is probably the best browser when it comes to privacy because it doesn’t depend on user tracking to help fund others. Your second choice should be Tor, a browser that runs on the Tor network. To keep any computer secure, it can be used with Microsoft Windows, Linux, or Mac PCs. It is built on an infrastructure of hidden relay servers, and it automatically hides your digital identity and IP. But because it is built for privacy, it lacks antivirus, anti-malware, and other security features. Your third consideration should be Brave – a lightweight open-source browser that’s perfect for any privacy-conscious user. It has a good ad-blocker, blocks cookie capture, integrates with HTTPS, and has an active developer community that regularly improves it.
6. Password Managers
Protect user data with strong passwords and a password manager, which is software you can use to store and manage your passwords for different online accounts. These apps store and encrypt your passwords, securing your access to all your password information with the use of one master password. Some of the most notable password managers are LastPass, 1Password, Keeper, and EnPass. With 1Password, you can store anything from passwords, account details, bank details, and loyalty schemes. Once they’re stored, it will auto-fill your web forms. You may have heard about LastPass being the best password manager on the market. However, LastPass has had issues with security breaches in the past which damaged their customers’ confidence in their product.
7. Privacy Utilities
Two-step verification (or two-factor authentication) is a must when you are storing large amounts of data. With 2FA, you will improve your security, reduce the risk of data theft, and increase flexibility and productivity. It’s an effective solution for preventing phishing attacks, viruses, malware, and keyloggers from stealing your sensitive information. Also, be sure to sync your data in an encrypted form across multiple devices, whether that be, for example, with Dropbox or Google.
Protecting your personal system is necessary, especially for those working remotely. Start by exploring your browser settings to ensure your security settings are turned on for data protection. In 2020, more and more people will turn to work from home due to the self-isolation requirements, and their online behavior will be more exposed to risk since they are accessing the web from their personal networks.
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