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Online Privacy

The Simplest Guide You'll Ever Need to Secure Yourself & Your Business Online

The Simplest Guide You'll Ever Need to Secure Yourself & Your Business Online
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

In a world of digital surveillance and spying being disturbingly common, hacking is made easier than updating your windows, businesses and average users are constant targets of a sophisticated range of cyber attacks. Virus attacks from non-digital sources, such as digital flash drives, CDs, DVDS or just an offline network have statically gone down significantly (unless you plug your USB into unknown or public sources, such as libraries, cyber-cafes or that old school friend of yours that still uses flash drives). Businesses and their employees should not cheap out on employing the best cyber-security they have, even if they assume their data isn’t worth any hacker’s steal. Latest internet outbreaks like Ransomware can actually not just steal your data, but encrypt it and ask for money for you to use it back.

Further, the shame, data loss, password theft, possible loss of bank details theft, interrupting everyday routine to fix your problem is a lot of inconvenience and trouble for even businesses that are not having valuable web/offline data. Let’s face it – nobody has the time to use for – the world’s safest web browser when all you’re doing is using it to exchange emails or check the news or update your website. For everyday use, using a virtual OS or shifting to Linux will only make sense if you’re a technical user and understand these terminologies.

Thankfully, security and privacy on the internet is an easy game even for basic users once you understand what to do without slowing it down. Here, I assume you're already aware of the need and importance of using the latest anti-virus software and tweaking your firewall. Here are some very easy to use steps to pursue:

Install the latest version of your browser

Regular updates patch exploits and vulnerabilities form your favourite browser form company’s end, saving you time to search and fix vulnerabilities yourself. I personally use Chrome for my casual browsing and working, so updating and checking for updates is easy, if you’re using some other browser, be sure to do so manually – or set the automatic updates setting to on.

Update browser plugins as well

Most of us forget to update our extensions and plugins list, shifting our focus on the browser alone. Adobe Flash player, and Java script engine require the most regular updates. Go to settings and check if all your plugins are also up to date.

Install a good ad blocker

Even if you’re pro-business, or running an advertising business in itself, or are aware of how ads basically run everything that is available for free on the internet, installing an ad blocker is not just a luxury for a cleaner, drastically faster, and smoother web experience, but also safer. Ads are getting clever each day, masking themselves as crucial article and tricking users into clicking them. Some of them can even hijack your browser and wreak havoc – not just visually with their explicit content but as a security breach in itself. Use a good blocker extension and be sure to add all the list of subscriptions (which are available free and without filling any forms) that apply to you. FanBoy is one name familiar with this.

Use HTTPS everywhere

HTTPS is the most secure way to communicate. It is essentially the same protocol that websites that wish to protect its users’ transmission use – including but not limited to banks and payment protocol. HTTPS ensures that data transmitted from the server to your machine and back isn’t tapped by other users. There is a famous extension that simplifies this job for you – called HTTPS everywhere. It forces websites to switch their data transmission to this secure method, saving you the trouble to do so manually wherever possible. Search your browser’s extensions for “https everywhere” and install it immediately. And no, it does not slow your browsing experience by even a tiny bit.

Switch Do Not Track on

All browsers have this simple setting to switch on the “Do Not Track” mode. This ensures, well, as the name says, that websites that request you private information are not receiving this information. It’s really that simple.

Use a VPN

Proxies are complicated, and really annoying slow. Most websites are also proxy protected, which means if you even manage to find that’s not drenched in ads and free, all websites you surf on will have captcha to annoy your everyday use. Enter VPN – simplified proxies and making matters easy. I like to use this free extension called ZenMate Security – it automatically does all the complicated work for you. It officially asks for subscriptions for prolonged usage, but the free one also works fine. The best part? You can change your location to a different country! This is especially useful to mask your location to content that is restricted for users only in one specific country. Opera has added an internal free VPN to its browser too and you can find a list of several dozen other VPNs for use as well.

What are the steps you’ve taken to ensure privacy online for yourself and your business? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Edition: December 2016

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