The Latest in Online Security: Password and Identity Protection

online security

There’s a lot of concern these days about online security. It seems as if anyone and everyone wants your information: corporations, hackers, foreign agents, frenemies, the list goes on. How do you keep your personal information safe from all the prying eyes online?

There are lots of new technologies (and newly upgraded technologies) that can help you conceal your personal data online, like your password, credit card information, contact information, and web activities. Here are the latest advances in online security that you can benefit from, whether you’re trying to protect your business or yourself.

VPNs

VPN stands for “virtual private network,” and they’re becoming increasingly popular every year. A virtual private network is hands-down the best way to keep your web browsing private.

A lot of people think that “private browsing” features on web browsers keep other people from seeing your online activities. But “private browsing” only prevents your online activities from being cached on your computer. Anyone else online can still see which websites your computer is connecting with.

A VPN acts as a middle-man between your computer and the websites you visit. When you request access to a website, your request will go through the VPN, and the VPN will access the website on your behalf. Nobody will see a connection between your computer and a website—they’ll only see a connection between your computer and the VPN.

There are lots of companies that operate virtual private networks—some of them are free services, while others cost money. The paid services are usually better because the servers are stronger and faster, and they usually don’t cost more than a few bucks per month.

A VPN is a cyber-security essential, especially if you want to keep your web browsing activities private.

OAuth

Most of our technologies nowadays are integrated. For example, when you post a photo on Instagram, you can also have it post directly to your Facebook. Some websites have buttons that enable you to share articles via your email, or you can share them on your social media page. Sharing between your accounts is made possible by a system called OAuth.

What is OAuth? OAuth allows websites and programs to have temporary access to your account without you actually giving them your login information. If you wanted to share a photo on your Instagram to your Twitter account, the conventional logic would be that your Twitter would need your Instagram password to get access to the photo, or your Instagram would need your Twitter password. The more times you share login information between third parties, the more likely it is your data will be compromised.

OAuth circumvents this by using a “token” system. If one account requests access to another account, it’ll receive a “token” that gives it temporary access to only a particular file (in this case, a photo). No login information needs to be exchanged, but obviously, both platforms must be optimized for OAuth. Thankfully, OAuth is used by most major social media platforms and by websites with shareable content.

Anti-Phishing Software

Phishing is a sneaky way in which cyber thieves will try and steal your personal information. Hackers will send you a fake email that proclaims to be a certain large authority, like the IRS or your boss. The email will request that you send over information like your social security number, contact information, and credit card information.

Most major email providers have very good software that can detect phishing, but if you want to protect yourself further you can use anti-phishing software.

Go Incognito

If you don’t want your data to be compromised, then don’t put it online. Obviously, that’s easier said than done. Unless you’re living underneath a rock, you probably have accounts for email, Amazon, Netflix, or social media.

However, you probably have personal data listed on the internet where it truly doesn’t need to be. Websites like Facebook have been known to sell your information to data brokers, so it winds up getting spread around the internet.

You can remove your personal information from these websites by using a service like DeleteMe. While these types of services won’t remove all your personal information from the web, it’ll help to significantly reduce the amount of unnecessary personal data that’s floating out there in the world wide web.

The internet can be a risky place, but you can protect your privacy by using any of the aforementioned technologies.

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