Whether it’s another big data breach or someone trying to steal your passwords, there’s always something to watch out for online. However, there are a number of tools you can use to protect your identity and browse without worrying. Today we’re taking a closer look into some of these tools to help you understand what you need to surf the web worry-free.
Protect Your Identity Online
A VPN, or a virtual private network, is a fancy-sounding name for a relatively simple service. Originally created to allow people to access their work intranet while working from home, a VPN allows you to “tunnel” your internet traffic to an external server. Essentially, a VPN hides who you are when you’re browsing online by making it look like traffic from your computer is coming from somewhere else. By tunneling your traffic to another server, your traffic can appear to be coming from a distant country, and your identity is hidden from websites you visit.
This offers you some unique benefits. For instance, it allows you to access websites that might be blacked out in your area. You can sidestep local blackouts on sites like Netflix, on regional sports teams you want to watch and even on banned content in your area. While doing this is technically against the user agreement of the sites in question, the ethics of doing so are left for you to decide for yourself. In either case, a VPN is a great way to hide your identity online and protect your activity from prying eyes.
Everyone knows the first rule of making passwords for your online accounts is that you need to make each site have a different password. If you’ve got tons of logins for various websites, such as online banking, paying bills and social media, it can be hard to keep track of all your passwords, though. That’s where cloud password managers come in. These convenient and time-saving services are also incredibly good at securing your online information.
A password manager service allows you to hide all of your passwords on a remote server that you access with one master password. This allows you to keep track of all of your passwords easily, while also hiding them from potential keystroke-monitoring programs or simply people watching your fingers while you input them. While it might sound risky to keep all of your platforms saved on one server, it’s actually much safer to keep them encrypted in this way than to store them in a text file on your computer, or on a physical piece of media that can be stolen.
Scammers and phishers are everywhere online. The illusion of anonymity emboldens con men and grifters to try to steal your information, your credit and your money. As such, you need to be careful when you’re browsing online. Even a strong VPN and encrypted passwords can’t keep your identity safe if you fall for a phishing scam. Make sure you’re vigilant about the sites you visit, and never input your personal information into a site you don’t trust.
If you get an email or see an offer online that’s too good to be true, it is. Never give someone your password, you Social Security number or your credit card information online. The only exceptions to this are verified government websites, sites you pay your bills through and known online sellers like Amazon or eBay. A fishy site with a strange domain name and broken English in all of the item descriptions is probably not the site you should be shopping on. Remember: if it looks suspect online, don’t input any personal information.