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The most common privacy mistakes you should avoid in 2020

by Josef Kafka

Whether it’s due to a lack of knowledge or sheer laziness, we’ve all been guilty of slacking when it comes to keeping tabs on our internet privacy. In order to protect your data from being accessed and manipulated by cyber criminals this year, it is essential to avoid these common privacy errors.

1) Not using two-factor authentication

If you’ve ever purchased something using your debit card and its PIN number, you have used a two-step verification process. Also known as two-factor authentication, this step is designed to prove to websites that you are who you say you are. Just as you need to enter your PIN number to use your debit card, two-step verification requires you to enter two details in order to verify your identity and make the login process more secure. While two-factor authentication is not the most secure method of protecting your data, it does act as an extra layer of security.

2) Linking your social media to other online accounts

Most of us use social media every day of our lives, sharing information across the web that we would keep private under normal circumstances. Some of the most popular websites and online apps offer users the option to ‘Sign up with Google’ or ‘Sign up with Facebook’ as a shortcut for registering. While this can be useful, this is a serious privacy error that could give third parties and cybercriminals access to your personal data across your many social media accounts. To keep your information private, it is best to decline third-party login requests and read the fine print before you click ‘Allow’.

3) Using WiFi hotspots without a VPN

Any skilled hacker with the right tools and knowledge will have the ability to hack into a public network and access your private data while viewing your internet activity in real-time. If you need to access a public WiFi network safely, it’s essential to be hyper-aware of unsecured networks. Thankfully, with a VPN, you can easily keep your data and internet usage private while using public WiFi networks. A VPN will keep your network traffic encrypted while you connect to any public server, so you can comfortably benefit from a convenient WiFi connection without having to worry about your private data being compromised.

4) Failing to update your software

When software update notifications pop up on your computer, it can be tempting to click ‘Not Now’ over and over again, but this simple action could be putting your privacy at risk. Technology is constantly changing and requires frequent updates in order to function optimally. Software updates usually include performance enhancements and security patches that keep your devices as ‘healthy’ as possible. Often, devices have security vulnerabilities that hackers can take advantage of before you’re even aware of their existence, so keeping your apps and devices updated at all times can provide you with the assurance that your device’s security is fine tuned. If possible, it’s a good idea to set your devices up to update themselves automatically so that you don’t have to take time out of your day to do it yourself.

5) Clicking suspicious links

Most of us will have received suspicious-looking emails in our inboxes with spelling errors, poor English and false claims, which are usually part of a phishing scam. Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to target people rather than devices to trick unwitting victims into handing over their personal data using deception. For example, if you receive an email claiming to be from your bank requesting for you to enter your personal data, such as your phone number or address, it is best to avoid it. If you click on the link given, it could give hackers access to your account and you could have all of your personal data stolen in the blink of an eye.

6) Not using incognito mode to browse

Seeing ads pop up on your social media from products you might have looked at online can be irritating and it can feel like every move you make online is being watched. Well, this is often the case, as a number of websites will use a method called ‘browser fingerprinting’ to track your internet activity. This tool is used to gather information on visitors to various websites regarding their plugins, operating system and browser so that visitors’ online behaviour can be tracked accurately. This is used to target consumers with personalised advertisements in order to persuade you to make purchases, but this can be avoided by browsing via your computer’s ‘private’ or ‘incognito’ mode.

1st Call Detectives is proud to announce that our website is now in possession of an encryption certificate so that we can keep our customers’ important data safe and private. If you’re looking for a discreet and trustworthy private investigation company, get in touch with our professionals today.

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