As the internet becomes more important and critical in our everyday lives, more and more Americans and Canadians are growing concerned about their online privacy, online tracking and personal data breaches. Based on a poll conducted by NordVPN (a cyber security company), a large majority of Canadians and Americans report being concerned about their privacy online. The losses from online privacy, identity theft and fraud continue to mount exceeding $3.3 billion in 2020 (according to the FTC).
Technology solutions to technology problems might be the solution. The majority of Canadians that were surveyed by NordVPN indicated that they were concerned primarily about having their personal banking or financial information hacked. This was despite almost 39% percent of the same respondents indicating that they had their personal financial/banking login details saved on multiple devices.
“Entering your credit card details every time you buy something online might not seem convenient, but this is the right thing to do. The internet is not a safe place, and you shouldn’t trust third parties with your details,”Daniel Markuson, NordVPN
How to prevent online tracking?
First and foremost, the best way to prevent tracking online is to practise good internet hygiene. Hygiene in the web context means your first point of attack should be aimed at limiting the use and saving of cookies in your browser. Various websites and social media platforms use tracking cookies for advertising and marketing purposes.
Second, using a web browser in a private browsing mode or safe mode. Private browsing or “incognito” mode in chrome is a great way to amp up your privacy protection game and have a drastic impact on the information a website can gather/save on your machine. While this won’t prevent more sophisticated web-tracking, it will make a major improvement from where most start.
The third best way to prevent tracking online is to choose a VPN (virtual private network) provider to secure your internet connection. While typically many users use VPNs to accept work networks or geographically locked content, picking the right VPN can make a big difference. Our team has covered a whole lot of them in the past, and our go-to favourite has been Surfshark VPN. With a VPN like Surfshark, your internet connection is routed through Surfshark‘s secure servers and then routed to the global internet wherever you choose. By using a geographically different VPN location, further protects you from online tracking techniques that collect geographic location so we always recommend a distant connection location.
Lastly, the most important way to protect your privacy online is to use a service like Privacy.com to protect and conceal your credit card details on the internet. With Privacy.com you can credit one-time or multiple-use credit cards that are numerically different than your own while maintaining the convenience of using your favourite card. Many merchants are employing sophisticated analytics software that can be used to identify spending patterns from different vendors and platforms.
Are you a victim of a data breach? How to stop them?
The question of being a victim or not of a data breach is becoming more of a concern given the interconnected nature of our lives. Companies are being heavily targeted with incestuous malware/ransomware and our data is being put at great risk of being comprised at an alarming pace. So what can one do about it and how can one stay on top of the latest data breaches?
First, use a third-party identity protection service like Aura.com. With the Aura platform, users can monitor their credit history, online accounts, personal identification in addition to other items like home titles and address information. Aura alerts users when their information is comprised giving you a great edge when responding to breaches.
Secondly, use a password manager like LastPass to quickly remediate breaches with online credentials and change passwords quickly. LastPass monitors user names and passwords then compare credentials to those contained in data breaches. While this requires a paid, LastPass premium subscription, we think the added protection of knowing when a password has been compromised is great peace of mind.
Bottom line – protect yourself
Protecting yourself in the event of a data breach or privacy breach is important, but staying ahead of the breaches can make all of the difference. If you are the victim of a suspected or known data breach, be sure to act quickly. Check your accounts, change your passwords and report the event to law enforcement. You can also check out this video below from the FTC for more information, or contact your local police.
*None of the products or services mentioned in this article are sponsored inclusions and were not consulted prior/during/after publishing.