Large amounts of information, both public and private, are collected across the Internet, opening users up to the risk of data breaches and other security threats. Hackers and crackers can break into networks and systems and steal information such as login information or bank and credit card account records. Some steps that can be taken to protect online privacy include:
- Installing antivirus and antimalware
- Creating difficult, varied passwords that are impossible to guess.
- Using a virtual private network (VPN) or, at least, a private browsing mode, such as Google Chrome’s Incognito window.
- Only using HTTPS
- Making all social media accounts private.
- Deactivating autofill.
- Turning off the device’s GPS.
- Updating cookies so an alert is sent anytime a cookie is installed.
- Logging out of accounts instead of just closing the tab or window.
- Using caution with spam emails and never opening or downloading content from unknown sources.
- Using caution when accessing public Wi-Fi or hotspots.
Additionally, there is an element of the Internet called the dark web. The dark web is hidden and inaccessible through standard browsers. Instead, it uses the Tor and I2P browsers which allow users to remain entirely anonymous. While this anonymity can be a great way to protect an online user’s security and free speech or for the government to keep classified data hidden, the dark web also creates an environment that facilitates cybercrime, the transfer of illegal goods and terrorism.