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How to achieve privacy over the internet

Aqsa Amir

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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Overview

The growing number of viruses and the introduction of new types of malware have made protection on the internet extremely important.

Cyber security protects against illegal data collection, such as hacking and stealing attempts.

Data privacy refers to safeguarding oneself from legal data collection, such as keeping yourself safe from surveillance done for marketing purposes.

Protection

Follow as many security measures as possible to secure your data and achieve privacy over the Internet.

Use of strong passwords

Use a complex, strong, and secure password for your social media accounts and devices to keep data safe.

A password manager can be used to generate complex passwords and store them as well. Your password should have the following properties at least:

Features of a strong password

Turn the save password feature off

The save password feature in the browsers makes it easy for hackers to intercept and access all your passwords stored in one place. Hence, it is not preferred.

Look out for phishing emails

Avoid opening attachments in the emails and always ensure the sender's details, for instance, the spelling of the email address.

Note: To read more about phishing and prevention, click here.

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication asks you to enter your password followed by a code, usually sent to the devices owned by the user only.

It is ideal to receive the code through any secure application, like Google Authenticator, rather than a text. This adds an extra security layer and makes it difficult for anyone to access your private information.

Two-factor authentication

Download software from authentic sources

Make sure you download applications and software from trusted sites. It's preferred to open downloading sites yourself rather than following a link.

Software updates

It is essential to keep your software up-to-date. Otherwise, cybercriminals can exploit the vulnerabilities in the old software versions and intrude on your devices.

Look for HTTPS

When making sensitive transactions, trust sites that use SSL or TSL protocol to encrypt the communication between you and the browser. An "HTTPS" or a "padlock" sign in the URL bar indicates that the website is secure.

HTTP vs HTTPS

Clear cache and delete cookies

A lot of data, such as your passwords and preferences, are stored in cookies for ad personalization. These should be cleared often to discourage the browser from making your profile with your sensitive information.

Use VPN

Virtual Private NetworkA virtual private network is essential when using a public Wi-Fi network, such as the ones available in the library or the coffee shops.

It masks your internet protocolInternet Protocol and encrypts communications by setting up a private gateway between you and the internet. In short, it makes you untraceable on the internet, so cyber criminals can't break through the public network and trace your communication.

Use of VPN

Note: To know more about VPN, click here.

Private browsing mode

Browser discloses a lot of information about you whenever you visit any website. This information is used for ad personalization and marketing purposes.

Private browsing modes are preferred because they do not save your browsing histories on your computer. Tor is an excellent example of a private browser that discourages monitoring user activities.

Note: ISP still has access to all your online actives for legal purposes.

Anonymous search engines

Search engines, such as Google, track user information for numerous purposes. An anonymous search engine can be used that blocks ad trackers on websites and discourages data collection, such as DuckDuckGo.

Use encryption for communication

Install apps that offer end-to-end encryption for communication, such as Telegram, Signal, and WhatsApp. This encrypts the contents of your messages from a third party and keeps them safe between you and the recipient.

Encryption process

Install the latest version of antivirus software

Antivirus software is essential to clean out possible virus traces from the user's devices. Having the latest version installed on your devices is vital to combat new viruses.

Turn off ad personalization to prevent data tracking

Decline cookies on the websites whenever possible and always select the option of "ask app not to track" to prevent data breaches.

Prefer browsers over apps

Review the terms and conditions of an app before downloading it. Apps are usually given a lot of permissions on your cellphones, such as access to the microphone or the contact list, which is used to collect data then.

Hence, it is ideal to use browsers and deleted unwanted apps from your devices. Also, keep your accounts logged out to prevent browsers from collecting data.

Conclusion

To combat the rising threats to data privacy on the Internet, it is ideal to share less information, especially personal information. Cybercriminals cannot exploit data if it hasn't been uploaded online.

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Aqsa Amir
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Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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