We’re constantly inundated with stories about how dangerous it is online and told we need to be careful of our online privacy. But what are the best ways to do this? We asked our writers, “What do you do to protect your online privacy?”
Phil states his short answer is “what I can.” He tries to strike the right between maintaining his privacy and crippling his system so much it hardly functions. Using HTTPS Everywhere, VPN, encryption, firewalls, etc. can slow your system down so much they’re nearly unusable.
The most important things he focuses on for privacy are “having the best virus and spyware protection I can afford, never clicking on anything in an email unless I’m sure it’s from a genuine source, and using common sense to figure out the rest.”
Miguel figures it’s probably easier to ask what he doesn’t do. “I seldom ever store any data I wouldn’t want seen in public on the Internet. Period.” If he does have to, he vets the storage provider first. When he needs to communicate he uses obscure services that are least likely to be targeted by hackers.
Alex recalls his father telling him when he was younger “to never post something on the Internet that I wouldn’t want printed on a billboard with my name on it.” For the most part, he’s followed that advice. He adds that while there are significant steps you should take to protect your privacy, “it’s easy to make potential breeches of privacy low-impact by not posting embarrassing or important material on social media.”
Simon states that he’s started creating password variants for the websites he visits. He explains, “There have been some nasty database leaks as of late, and using the same password for every site you access can be fatal should your details get leaked.” He also notes that there are tools, such as password managers, that will remember all your different passwords so you don’t have to.
Ryan explains his main concern is with privacy, and because of that, “I am always connected to my VPN.” All his Internet traffic is routed through the VPN. He also chooses to use DuckDuckGo rather than Google since it doesn’t track his activity.
I know I should, but I don’t spend much extra effort on online privacy. I do go through and change my passwords out every year or so. I use a “system” to create them. I keep them written down in a list in my Evernote which I keep locked, and I have a code I use for them as well, not writing them down exactly as they are.
We’d like your input as well. Do you do something specific with your passwords or avoid Google? And do you use a VPN or avoid storing things in a cloud service? What do you do to protect your online privacy? Join our conversation in the comments section below.