With the majority of interactions and transactions now happening online, beefing up your cybersecurity ought to be your top priority. Thieves and hackers now actively prowl the Internet looking to scam you for a quick buck. Though the installation of malware and other platforms like VPN Service, Private Browsers, and Incognito Mode does help in securing your privacy to a certain extent, these tools should not make you become complacent.
When you think that your setup is infallible, you make a big mistake and open yourself up to tons of risks while surfing the net. You must always prioritize your internet security setup, and you must engage in responsible behaviour, such as installing strong passwords, to actively and consistently deter threats. This ascertains that your personal data is never tracked and stolen.
Here’s everything you need to know to help you assess if your private internet browsing is truly private.
Let’s Talk About VPN
This buzzword VPN is an acronym for the words Virtual Private Network, which paves the way for you to create a safe connection to a different network over the Internet.
This works by routing your device’s connection to the Internet by going through your chosen VPN private server. When this occurs, your VPN bypasses your ISP or internet service provider. As a result, when your particular device is transmitting your data, it is not coming from your computer but the VPN.
Why does this matter? The VPN acts as an intermediary between any of your devices and the Internet. Thus, it allows you to keep your browsing activity away from prying eyes, especially when you are using public Wi-Fi. Investing a minimal sum to provide a VPN for all devices in your home allows you to get all the privacy benefits of a proxy server.
On top of that, it encrypts all your data, giving you peace of mind to go online cause your private information will not be intercepted. It also permits access to regionally restricted websites.
However, VPN users are not super safe because VPN providers are not created equal. A reputable one will keep you safe. However, a poor provider will only give you a false sense of security. In some cases, shady VPN providers will even share your information with annoying advertisers and third-party agencies.
In a worst-case scenario, some free VPN apps are loaded with third-party tracking libraries that collect your passwords, login info, and other data. Clearly, it is crucial to make the right VPN app choice.
Take a Look at Private Browsers or Incognito Mode
Private Browsers are designed by various browsers to help you minimize your digital footprint. These are the trail of data you leave behind when you surf the Internet. This private browsing mode is dubbed as InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer, while it is labelled Incognito Mode in Google Chrome.
They may have different names, but this is the same standard feature offered in every browser may it be Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, and the like. Accessing this private browsing mode may take different steps (clicking dots, using control buttons, or picking tabs) depending on your browser, but the intention to protect you while you are browsing is the same across the board.
When you browse the Internet in normal mode, your web browser is programmed to store data regarding where you went and what you did. Your browser saves information in your history and cookies from your visited sites; then, these are stored for auto-completion later.
It can also track your passwords, cache, downloads, and searches. Unfortunately, someone with access to your computer and network could stumble on all this vital information and put you at risk.
With private browsing mode on, your browser will not store the above-mentioned information. When you visit a site in Incognito Mode, your browser will not keep your history, cookies, etc. Do note that some data are retained only while you are browsing for convenience, but the moment you close your browser, that data is all deleted.
Keep in mind that private browsing will offer you improved privacy. However, it is not an omnipotent invisibility cloak that will make you totally private and anonymous online. Surfing the Internet while in private browsing mode doesn’t guarantee 100% protection!
Steps to Keep Safe While Browsing the Internet
To attain TRULY private browsing, you need a combination of methods to keep you protected. Apart from using VPN and Incognito Mode, you must be vigilant in ensuring you remain safe.
If you do this in the real world, then you must carry over the same protective measures in the virtual world. Stay away from shady online sites by ignoring clickbait and practicing safe browsing measures. Be cautious about what and where you download your content from.
One of the best tips to keep safe online is to choose a strong password with a combo of alphabets, numbers, and symbols. Keep that letters in lower and uppercase. Providing a complex password makes it difficult for thieves to hack your account. Additionally, upgrade your antivirus and only purchase from secure sites with SSL encryption.
Moreover, you must make it difficult for both marketers and hackers to find out information about you. These two groups find and typically get your personal data from your browsing history and social media patterns. Do keep you FB, IG, and other accounts private. Be a responsible user by taking charge of your information. Use all the given privacy-enhancing settings of all your applications.
No amount of VPN and Private Browsing will protect you if you are not vigilant about safety. Some people forget to be careful about what they post online. Remember: for the ultimate internet safety practice, think before you click.
There is no way to “undo” your remark or compromising selfies that people have already seen. Others could have already made a screenshot and saved copies. Don’t put anything online that you are bound to regret. They call it “personal” information for a reason! If you don’t dare divulge the same info to a stranger, don’t broadcast it online.
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Author: Lianna Arakelyan
Lianna Arakelyan is a content writer and digital marketing expert to the extreme with a knack for social media marketing strategy and implementation. She is extreme in her work with a deep goal of always being updated on online and offline marketing and technology news of the world.