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Top Tips for Protecting your Privacy Online

08.09.22

Unfortunately, as technology evolves, so do internet scams! Online security has become even more essential these days, as hackers have become quite crafty, and scams have become more elaborate. Luckily, there are some simple steps that everyone can follow to safeguard personal information and protect yourself from potential online threats. Here are our top tips to protect your privacy online.

1. Limit what you share on social media

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: don’t overshare on social media! Providing too much information on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, such as family members’ full names, maiden names and birthdays for example, could make it easier for cybercriminals to obtain identifying information, allowing them to guess your passwords, steal your identity or access your financial information. And remember, you can always choose to make your social media accounts private to only friends and family for an added layer of security.

2. Browse in private mode

If you don’t want your computer to save your browsing history, temporary internet files, or cookies, then consider switching to private mode.

Each web browser offers their own version of private browsing. In Chrome, it’s called Incognito Mode. Firefox calls it Private Browsing, and Internet Explorer uses the name InPrivate Browsing for its privacy feature. When you search with these modes turned on, others won’t be able to trace your browsing history from your computer. This isn’t a be-all, end-all however, as Internet Service Provider (ISP) can still see your browsing activity, but it’s a good start.

3. Be careful where you click

One of the main ways hackers compromise your online privacy is through phishing attempts. In phishing, scammers try to trick you into providing valuable financial or personal information. They’ll often do this by sending fake emails that appear to be from banks, credit card providers, or other financial institutions. These emails may instruct you to click on a link and verify your financial information to keep your account from being frozen or closed.

Don’t fall for these scams. If you click on a phishing link, you could be taken to a spoofed webpage that looks like the homepage of a bank or financial institution. But when you enter in your account information, you’ll be sending it to the scammers behind the phishing attempt.

Before clicking on suspicious links, hover your cursor over the link to view the destination URL. If it doesn’t match your financial institution’s website, don’t click!

4. Don’t forget your mobile devices

Many of us spend more time surfing the web, answering emails, and watching videos on our smartphones than we do on our laptops, so we can’t forget to ensure our online privacy here too.

Using a passcode and facial recognition to lock your phone is a good start. This is particularly important if your phone is lost or stolen. And remember, when it comes to passwords, don’t use your birthday, anniversary, address, or any other code that thieves might be able to easily guess.

Apps are another cause for concern when it comes to mobile devices. Although they are meant for fun and ease of use, they could contain dangerous viruses. Only buy apps from legitimate sources and pay attention to the reviews.

One last reminder for mobile safety – don’t ignore those software updates! These updates often include important protections against the latest viruses, so make sure to update as needed.

5. Use quality antivirus software

Finally, always install antivirus software on all your devices. This software can keep hackers from remotely taking over your computer, accessing your personal and financial information, and tracking your location.

Manufacturers frequently update their virus protection software as a defense against the latest malware, spyware, and other viruses. Install updates as soon as they become available or set up automatic updates on all your devices.

To learn more about internet security, including current scams and alerts and more tips for prevention and reporting, visit our security hub here: https://www.banknewport.com/security/.

Source: National Cyber Security Alliance