Are you looking for the perfect New Year’s resolution that you can actually achieve? Online privacy is increasingly top-of-mind for today’s internet users, making it the ideal resolution for 2021.
2020 was a devastating year for cybersecurity and online privacy. A deluge of data breaches, misuse of user data by internet platforms, and routine sharing coalesced to create a challenging environment that too often undermines security and privacy online.
Fortunately, we are not powerless to improve our online privacy. Simple steps and readily available remedies can radically enhance your defensive posture, allowing you to participate in digital ecosystems without compromise.
Here are six resolutions that can combat the latest cyber threats and protect your online privacy in 2021.
#1 I will regularly update my account passwords.
Billions of account passwords have been compromised in the past several years. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of data breaches leverage compromised passwords, giving bad actors front door access to user accounts.
Even so, most people practice terrible password hygiene. A PC Mag survey found that more than a third never update their account passwords, and more than half use the same password for multiple accounts.
Regularly updating accounts with strong, unique passwords can thwart bad actors while mitigating the risk of cascading account compromise if a breach occurs. If updating your passwords feels overwhelming, consider implementing a password manager to make this process simpler.
#2 I will remove my personal information from the web.
In today’s digital environment, committing identity theft and financial fraud has never been easier. People-search sites are one of the primary culprits. They eagerly share people’s personal information for profit. Often, this frustrating ecosystem relies on passivity or lack of awareness as many people don’t understand the expansive economy reliant on the collection and distribution of personal information.
To protect your privacy in 2021, take action by having your information removed from these pages. OneRep will help you delete unauthorized listings from 100+ data broker engines. What’s more, our automatic privacy protection tool will keep monitoring your personal information to make sure it doesn’t reappear in the future.
#3 I will stop oversharing.
Oversharing on the internet is frighteningly prolific. We routinely reveal our locations, personal information, unfiltered reactions, and more. Of course, many of these posts are documented with photographs, videos, geotags, and check-ins.
Many people are already having second thoughts about this practice. In an expose on internet sharing practices, Wired identifies “post-post anxiety,” defined as the feeling experienced when “we regret our oversharing,” as an increasingly common concern for social media users.
This is especially true for parents. Sharenting, the epidemic of oversharing applied to parenting, received significant attention this year. That’s why we created an extensive resource to help parents avoid sharenting. In 2021, let’s apply these best practices to our own privacy, committing to avoiding oversharing on the internet.
#4 I will update my software in a timely manner.
Cybersecurity professionals readily admit that a third of cybersecurity incidents would have been avoided if the software was updated in a timely manner. Software providers regularly publish updates that patch security holes, include new protective features, or respond to an ever-changing threat landscape.
Rather than snoozing update notifications, update your devices when prompted, ensuring that you always have the most up-to-date cybersecurity standards protecting your privacy.
#5 I will learn to detect phishing scams.
Phishing scams, malicious messages that trick unsuspecting recipients into compromising personal for financial data, rose by 350% in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that these attacks will subside along with the health crisis.
Instead, these low-risk, high-reward operations are becoming more sophisticated. However, they are also entirely ineffective when users identify and delete these messages. Despite the best efforts of cybersecurity software, content filters, and AI, some phishing scams will inevitably make their way into our inboxes. Learning to detect phishing scams ensures that they won’t compromise our data security or our online privacy.
#6 I will use cybersecurity features.
The average consumer isn’t a cybersecurity expert. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an IT specialist to protect your data. Readily-available cybersecurity features, like two-factor authentication and VPNs, are easy-to-use and extremely effective against the latest threats.
This feature allows users to prevent account access even when login credentials are compromised. Microsoft estimates that two-factor authentication will effectively block 99.9 percent of account compromise attacks, making it an obvious solution for every user. Similarly, a VPN can encrypt your web traffic, which is especially useful when using public WiFi or poorly secured networks.
Let's wrap it up.
Cybersecurity incidents or privacy violations can have devastating consequences. As we approach the new year, let’s resolve to mitigate those risks by embracing best practices for keeping our information safe and secure online.
OneRep can help you get started today. With a 5-day free trial and a variety of plans to fit your needs, our specialists are ready to make better online privacy a resolution that you can keep in 2021.