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How to Protect Your Data Online?

ThinkingWe are living in a world where the concept of Privacy is being constantly bullied. Following the recent incidents of NSA’s sweeping surveillance, none of our information on the web is secure and limited to private access. Phone call records, credit card transactions and logs, emails, chats, messages, Facebook data, online profiles at social network- nothing is unmarked from spying at one point or another by someone. There are certain measures we can take to protect our data and details but such measures can only help us to an extent. It always depends on how motivated the intruder is, to find some vulnerability and attack your privacy.

But then, this should not stop us to take the basic privacy enhancing steps. They might not cut out the government and other surveillance agencies but can surely build a stronger wall to penetrate.

• Encrypt Your Messages: Messages, chats, emails transferred over web can be easily accessed by anyone who sits between you and the intended recipient. Since, these messages first are stored in a pool with the webmail companies, it is always easy to gain access to such texts. Also, eavesdropping is possible when an intruder can tap the optical fiber passing the message and read it. To prevent this, encode your messages. There are plenty of good encryption algorithms available. Employ any one of them and get a safe transit for your data. However, Encryption can be a complex process as it requires synchronization between the sender and receiver.

• Cut Usage of Your Phone: This may sound difficult but imagine yourself being followed anywhere you go. The locations are tracked and can be logged if someone wants to get the whole digest of your life. The voicemails, call logs can be obviously obtained by anyone who may want to do you harm. Also data can be recovered from your phone after you discard it using latest technologies. A solution can be keeping the cellphone usage to the minimum and switching off the GPS and location tracking services. Other alternative is to use “Burner” phone that are paid for anonymously and then abandon it.

• Avoid Online Transactions With Credit Cards: NSA has been recording credit card details along with phone logs. Though it’s very convenient to use credit cards for such payments but security gets more concern. Also, with the rising online frauds, it’s better sticking to the cash medium.

• Check Your System for Malicious Software: You may have a keystroke logger in your system, recording important credentials, details and you may not have any idea. Using a reliable anti-virus, changing passwords regularly, judiciously using firewalls, keeping the software updated etc can help to a great extent.

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