Maintaining digital privacy can be hard. In an environment optimized for connectivity and communication, going the other way can often be difficult, confusing and ultimately ineffective. Users have many reasons for wanting to retain privacy online, whether it’s a modicum or a majority of their activity, and many studies have shown that Internet anonymity and security are growing concerns for many Web users. In order to protect your company network or maintain a lower profile in your personal digital activity, here are six simple ways to increase your privacy online.
1) Disable unused network connections: You might be more connected than you think you are. Computers often maintain connections to network devices, and programs search for links to other systems. Not only can this be disruptive to PC performance, as these connections and searches take up memory and processing function, this can also lead to increased exposure to computer hacking. Disabling network protocols and services closes possible inroads that hackers can take to access files and devices, reported PCWorld. Business computers, for instance, could be connected to IP, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and external resources like files and printers. Terminating the connections you don’t use can go a long way toward eliminating possible access points for unauthorized access.
2) Reconfigure PC settings: In their factory state most PCs aren’t optimized for privacy, but they do have the settings capacity to boost user protection. A few quick settings fixes can substantially increase PC protection with little effort, according to PCWorld. On a shared computer, all user accounts should be password protected and all guest accounts (which can be more easily hacked) should be disabled. On both shared and personal PCs, shortening the time between user inactivity and a screensaver that requires a login can decrease a PC’s vulnerability to unauthorized access.
3) Don’t socialize without security: Many people put themselves in danger every day with poor social networking practices. Most of the default settings on major social networking sites allow everyone to view your profile, including people you don’t know. Beefing up your privacy settings reduces the number of people who can access information about you. It’s also a good idea to avoid putting personal information online. Even seemingly unproblematic information, like marital status, birthdays and personal pictures can allow cybercriminals to know more about who you are. Keeping this information off of popular social networks limits the metadata a hacker can use against you.
4) Beware of hardware: Some other innovative PC features can quickly become privacy problems. Built-in microphones and cameras are common hardware additions, but they can also be exploited by hackers to spy on users, according to PCWorld. Turning off microphones and taping over cameras when not in use can eliminate this threat.
5) Don’t mistake public for private: Another issue that hampers a user’s ability to maintain privacy on their PCs is the culture surrounding digital activity. Because we use personal devices with small screens, we can often fall victim to the assumption that physical privacy translates to digital security as well. This is not the case – connections like public Wi-Fi hotspots and online networks like peer-to-peer sharing are rife with potential security issues. Setting up guest Wi-Fi networks from the same hotspot, according to PC & Tech Authority, can help reduce the possibility of a hack.
6) Invest in a security and tune-up solution: Users can protect themselves with a preventive security solution that neutralizes threats before they become a problem. System Mechanic Pro from iolo technologies combines the powerful AV solution System Shield with all the optimization tools in System Mechanic, the world’s best-selling PC performance software.
System Mechanic relies on over 16 years of in-house engineering research to develop ever-evolving solutions to built-in Windows flaws that can accumulate over time. These include: slow program access, decline in RAM, slow boot time, bloatware, decreased web speed, registry errors, fragmented hard drive and more.
System Mechanic Pro adds powerful double-engine antivirus/anti-malware protection. The antivirus software built into System Mechanic Pro has been evolving and refining its advanced heuristics for nearly two decades. System Mechanic Pro is a security solution that regularly and automatically updates with the latest threat definitions, maintaining an ever-expanding roster of specific malware signatures and suspicious behaviors to help keep your PC secure.