5 Smart Ways to Keep Your Privacy Secured Online

The internet can be quite a daunting world and, as we continue to increase our usage and dependence on the internet and the wonderful tools it offer, the risks and threats involved like hacking and cyber viruses continue to proliferate.

Image Credit: Flickr, Creative Commons: Randen Pederson

Our identity becomes compromised when we fail to keep our private information safe from these threats. This article explores five ways you can prevent identity theft and have a safe experience online.

1. Choose Not so Easy to Guess Passwords
Much of our experiences online require some sort of password. It's important to choose passwords that are difficult to crack. "Password" is not a good password, nor is your birthday which can be seen in your social media accounts. Perfect Cloud recommends everyone to use cloud based solutions for passwords which are cookieless so that the hackers cannot access your passwords. It is also necessary to have different passwords for your accounts as once an account is hacked they might use the same password on your other accounts.

This can be your business credit card account or a payment facility like Paypal. So to avoid financial problems, keep the password to your sensitive accounts safe and difficult to figure out.

2. Don't Reveal Too Much Information on Social Media
Limit the information you put in your social media accounts. Micheal Schneider, a criminal law attorney says "You don't need to put your address there, telephone numbers, mother's maiden name and other sensitive information like your date of birth. In the correct hands, these bits of information can be used by criminals to do identify theft or worse find your home and physically steal from it." Avoid adding strangers to your social media accounts. Keep them private to people you personally know.

3. Enable Private Browsing
A lot of websites use cookies and other technologies to gather information about our browsing habits when we surf the internet. By turning private browsing on, we are able to prevent them from gathering information such as our location whereabouts and the things we like to navigate online. They use these bits of information to bombard us with advertising and shopping offers. Make sure also your browsers enable encrypted connections.

Also, avoid having your GPS and Wifi perpetually switched on as they can transmit information about your devices and other private information your devices have. Avoid accessing important and sensitive online accounts via a public Wifi as information can be compromised when access is not encrypted. Always log out when you use public computers and devices.

4. Be Wary of Free Apps
Be careful with free apps as they often come with spyware or little bots that try to take your private information and sell them to others. They may be free, but your privacy and online identity and experience can be threatened if sold at the wrong hands.

5. Separate Work and Home
It's vital you keep your home and work email accounts separate. Your company will have access to your sensitive home information if you just use one email for both work and home. To ensure peace of mind, keep a clear boundary with work transactions and home transactions online.

What other strategies have you used to lessen the risk of identity theft, financial losses and compromised security online?