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The Essential Guide to Managing Internet Privacy & Security

How transparent is your privacy? 

In today’s world, most people are digitally connected. Have you ever worried about what information you have online, and what others can access about you? Or, have you wondered who else can read your email or chat messages?

It is estimated that 73% of Americans who use the web are concerned with their online privacy. Nearly everyone has provided their personal information somewhere on the internet. Because the web is playing an integral role in our daily lives, it’s important to ensure internet privacy and security are maintained. Our 5 tips can help you and your friends manage your digital footprint across the web. 

1. Antivirus 

Antivirus software is used to protect your computer against potential threats, invaders, and cybercrime.  Often these malicious attacks are performed to gain personal information such as credit card info and email addresses, or even to hijack your computer. By using a reliable and updated antivirus, you add an extra layer of protection for your device. If a hacker DOES decide to attack your device, your antivirus will step in and keep you safe.  

At KNS, we use Webroot. Learn more about this antivirus software by reading our July 2018 blog post, Benefits of Managed Services: Antivirus Protection.

2. Clear Cookies and History

Cookies and history are stored files used to help you access information on the web faster. Although they do make searching the web quicker and more efficient, they can have a negative impact on your online privacy.

If you are concerned about how websites are using your personal data, clearing your cookies and web history can help to reduce your digital footprint. By clearing that data, you can prevent websites from storing important personal information. 

3. Change Passwords

Changing your account passwords helps to limit the potential threat of a breach. In some cases, when hackers gain access to your device, they monitor your account for data to steal over time. Changing your password every month will drastically help to prevent unauthorized account access to your accounts. 

4. Lock Your Device

Locking your computer is a great way to protect your data while you are away. When you press CTRL + ALT + DEL on your keyboard, you will see the option to lock your device. This option does not close any programs that you are currently working on – it will simply prohibit others from accessing your device unless they have the correct credentials. When you are ready to use your device again, just press CTRL + ALT + DEL and log in. 

5. Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi can be found in popular areas such as coffee shops, airports, restaurants, and hotels. While public Wi-Fi allows you to access the internet for free, it also opens the door to other users who are connected to the same network. It can be an opportunity for hackers to hijack information you are transferring through the network. Typically, public Wi-Fi networks have minimal and even flawed security.

If you choose to use a public network, there are a few things you can do to minimize risks: 

  1. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) whenever you connect to a Wi-Fi network on any device (learn how by reading How to Connect to a VPN in Windows 7).

  2. Disable file sharing (Control Center > Network and Sharing Center > Change Advanced Sharing Settings> select “off” for all options listed).

  3. Only visit websites that use HTTPS encryption (each website URL should start with “https”, which means the all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted/secure).

  4. Log out of all accounts when done.

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