how to improve online privacy

Last year I completed my Privacy Advocate Certification and it definitely prompted me to improve my own family’s online privacy and security. I know this topic can feel overwhelming and scary so today let’s start small with three tips. Here are three ways you can improve privacy online for your family.

First of all, why is online privacy important? Strong online privacy keeps your data safe from people who might try to steal it or use it for scams.

Did you know the most common data breach attributes are your full name and social security number? But breaches often include other things you may not think of like your medical history, bank account number, or your drivers license number. There is so much data about our families stored online so here are three ways we can keep it safe.

three ways to improve online privacy

three ways to improve online privacy

Tip 1: Use Strong Passwords

Don’t eye-roll. Passwords are seriously important. Hackers can crack a 12-character password that only uses numbers in seconds, but when you use a strong password meeting the following criteria, it can take a hacker billions of years to crack.

Strong Password:

  • 18 to 26 characters in length
  • contains upper case, lower case, number, and a special character

Tip: try thinking in phrases to create your strong password and then substituting letters for numbers or characters. For example: “I like to ski in sunshine” can be the password iL1k3T0sk!inSunsh1n3.

It’s also important that you do not use the same password for every account. Trust me, I’ve been guilty of this in the past! But with the crazy number of online accounts we need these days, it’s completely unrealistic to remember hundreds of individual passwords or phrases like this. That’s where a password manager is critical. Use the strong password that meets the criteria I shared above for your password manager access. And then let the password manager generate random (very strong!) passwords and store them securely for you so you only have to remember one password.

The password manager I personally use and recommend is 1Password.

Tip 2: Don’t Use Public Wifi

Free Wi-Fi at the cafe might be convenient, but it can be risky. These networks aren’t always secure, meaning someone could potentially steal your information while you’re browsing. If you must use public wifi, avoid logging into bank accounts, paying bills, or anything that involves personal information.

If these tasks absolutely can’t wait until you’re on your secure home network, use a VPN when you’re traveling or on public wifi. VPN stands for “virtual private network” and it is a paid service that protects your internet connection by encrypting your data.

The VPN service I personally use is BitDefender.

Tip 3: Use Anti-Virus Software on all Devices

Anti-virus software helps protect your computer from malware, which can steal your information or damage your files. If you’re currently thinking “but I’m a Mac user, I don’t need anti-virus software”…. that’s simply not true! This is especially important if you have additional family members using your computer (in my case, younger kids who are more susceptible to clicking on spammy links!).

Good news: if you use my favorite CleanMyMac software that I’ve recommended for years, it has built in malware identification. Maybe do a scan today! (If you don’t have it, you can use code MISSFREDDY to save 10%).

In addition to CleanMyMac, I personally use BitDefender. I have the family plan so we are able to install it on multiple computers and phones in our home. The plan also provides VPN service which I use frequently (see tip 2)!

Need help improving your family’s online privacy? During a Digital Consult, I can provide personalized advice and help you improve your family’s privacy!

*This post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase based on my recommendations. These are services I personally use and pay for. I appreciate your support of my business!

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