Billions of people around the world use the internet for a variety of different things. Perhaps it allows you to purchase that new top you've had your eye on. Maybe it's your go-to stop for gaming or how you stay up to date with the news. Whatever those activities are, they create an online persona of you that is made up of habits, searches and, most importantly, private data.
Information has become the new currency in the 21st century, something you've probably noticed since it's becoming increasingly difficult to protect yourself online from all the prying eyes out there. Don't worry though. By making a few simple changes to your devices and accounts, you can maintain security against any unwanted snoopers. Getting started is easy, as we've put together a list of tips and tricks to follow to help you keep your online privacy safe:
You can start by making smart use of the tools available to you.
Secure Your Accounts
As you're well aware, data breaches and password leaks have struck popular data-rich websites such as Facebook, Equifax, Yahoo and countless others. Unfortunately, if you have online accounts, it's possible hackers have gained access to your details from at least one of them.
Given all those breaches, we recommend that all frequent online users have a password manager. This essential tool grants the ability to generate and remember different, complex passwords for every individual account, allowing for maximum protection should one of your passwords be compromised. Password managers can seem intimidating at first. However, once they're set up, all you need to do is browse the internet and as you log in to your accounts the manager helps by suggesting you change weak or duplicate passwords. Within a short time, every account you own will have a unique password, and each one will be stored and ready to use each time you log in.
Protect Your Web Browsing
Online cookies are the product of companies and websites deciding to track everything you do online. Every website you visit, ad you check out or social media you browse collects information about your location, browsing habits and more. No matter how private you think you are online, there's a high chance that the websites you visit regularly grant all the data that advertisers need to target ads to you specifically based on the type of person you are.
A virtual private network (VPN) helps add an extra layer of security by protecting your internet connection and privacy online. It does this by hiding your IP address and creating an encrypted tunnel for your data to flow through. However, make sure to choose a company you can trust not to store or sell your data as all of your internet traffic will flow through them.
Viruses, infected files and dodgy websites are still as common as they were more than a decade ago. If malicious software finds its way into your computer, it can cause chaos, from bombarding you with annoying pop-ups to scanning your device for personal information. If you're at risk for clicking risky links or sharing a computer with others, it's worth setting up antivirus software.
Which antivirus software should you consider? We've teamed up with antivirus software provider TotalAV to offer an exclusive discount of 80 percent off their original price so that you can stay safe online and defend yourself from all the online threats out there. TotalAV prides itself on not being intrusive or pushing out notifications like most antivirus utilities tend to. It's compatible with every household device and combines each one of the tools listed in this article into one comprehensive package.
This content is created for our partner TotalAV and does not necessarily reflect the views of HowStuffWorks or its editorial team.