We’ve said numerous times that cybercrime will evolve and remain a threat for users around the world regardless of the efforts of cybersecurity specialists. The latter can create a solution for an existing or potential threat, but it’s often hard to actually guess what the next step of hackers will be.

It doesn’t mean though that you should just surrender. We all need to know and follow the rules of digital hygiene — and we don’t mean cleaning your phone with antibacterial wipes. Although it’s necessary, too. We’re talking about the set of actions that should become a natural part of our behavior as we spend a significant part of our lives online.

So let’s dive into these rules and check ourselves on whether we’re interacting with the digital world safely.

Rule #1: Use a VPN app

Adding the iNinja VPN app for Android, iOS, and desktop devices will increase your protection against hackers and snooping. A VPN hides your IP address by rerouting the connection through VPN servers and encrypting it. Thus, your device becomes invisible to prying eyes. Well, they can see that there is someone, but they lack data to actually detect your gadget and mess with your connection or get into your device.

It’s especially extremely important to use a VPN extension for Chrome or a standalone app when you’re connected to public wireless networks. Routers in public places are very rarely protected from intruders, and their firmware often lacks updates which means there are lots of vulnerabilities hackers can exploit. By using iNinja VPN you will hide your device from malefactors thus protecting it, your connection, and privacy.

Additionally, it’s useful to turn the VPN app on even at home when you’re conducting some sensitive actions such as working with your banking account. Quite a lot of employers would require their workers to use VPN during work to protect corporate data for a reason — even routers at home can suffer from cyber attacks. So make using iNinja VPN your rule to stay protected and anonymous online for the sake of your privacy.

Rule #2: Research browsing options

Yes, using Chrome or Firefox is convenient, and we’ve basically become whole with them as all our bookmarks and passwords are stored in our browsers. But there is a good reason for researching other options. Commonly used browsers gather quite a lot of information about our online activity, and even an incognito mode doesn’t save us from it. Sure, it will let you browse sites without leaving a browsing history, but that’s about it. This mode doesn’t do anything more than protecting you from the next person seeing which sites you’ve visited.

There already are new browsers that don’t collect user data. They also often offer different features such as blocking cookies and trackers. So they’re worth a look.

Rule #3: Terms of use and permissions

Let 2021 be the year when we finally start reading the terms of use and being careful with accepting cookies and giving permissions to apps. We often do it rather mindlessly just clicking Accept every time. Let’s take our time reading those privacy policies, evaluating the permissions apps request, and thinking twice before accepting cookies from a new site.

Rule #4: It’s not just about cookies

Cookies are necessary for a smooth browsing experience. But they also contain a lot of information about our browsing activity. So as we mentioned above, think before accepting cookies from a new site. And remember to clear cookies from time to time to let your device breathe freely and get rid of the data they carry.

Yet, it’s not just cookies. We also deal with trackers all the time. These are algorithms that track our online activity even when we leave the website that implemented a tracker. You can find numerous programs and browser extensions that will detect and remove trackers — use those tools to stay safe.

While in most cases data gathered by trackers will be used for ads, not for malicious activity, it’s still better to remove them. Also, start blocking ads if you’re still not doing that. It will improve your browsing experience and protect you from potentially harmful ads.

Rule #5: Log into services safely

Use reliable unique combinations for passwords — this mantra should already be embedded in our minds and pop up every time we create new accounts. Yet, statistics show that quite a lot of users still have weak and often absolutely ridiculous passwords such as “0password1”. Most services now demand from users to include numbers, special symbols, and uppercase letters into their passwords. So we hope, soon enough people will stop using weak combinations.

There is no excuse today for unreliable passwords with our browsers remembering all login details. You can also get yourself a password manager that will remember all combinations and keep them encrypted to protect them from theft.

Additionally, use two-factor authentication if a service offers it. Yes, this nuance will slow down the process, but your safety is worth spending an extra minute on logging into a service. Two-factor authentication will protect your accounts even if malefactors get access to your passwords.

Rule #6: Update the software

We keep insisting that users update their apps regularly or allow auto-updates. Outdated programs are full of vulnerabilities hackers are happy to exploit. If you disregard updates, you put yourself in danger of becoming a victim of cybercrime. So keep your apps and operating system updated. It’s a matter of just minutes.

Rule #7: Check sites for the SSL certificate

You can do it by just looking at the URL field in your browser. If a site is HTTPS — which means it’s safe — you’ll see a lock. Click on it and you’ll see more info about the protection of this site. Usually, Google will warn you about an unprotected website, but sometimes it doesn’t. So pay attention to this nuance, especially if you’re going to provide a site with some sensitive data such as your bank card details. If a site lacks an SSL certificate, your data is not protected from theft.

Rule #8: Shred your files

When we delete files from a device, in most cases they still can be restored. If you want to delete some sensitive document, better use shredding apps that will completely destroy any information this file contains. Thus, you can be sure no one will ever be able to restore this document.

Rule #9: Become more careful with social media

We share a lot of information on social media. And it’s time to take it down a notch. Consider telling your friends and followers a bit less about your life, especially in a live mode. While it’s a very entertaining process, you never know who might be following your activity. Malefactors can gather quite a lot of valuable information from social media accounts and use it later to harm you somehow. So the least you can do is to switch to a private profile so that you can review who follows you and sees your posts.

Also, remember that social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook track users and gather data even from private conversations as they’re not encrypted. Keep this information in mind and think about getting rid of these platforms altogether.

Rule #10: Be careful with emails

Phishing emails became smarter and more personalized with the rise of big data. Today hackers send malicious emails that look very genuine if you don’t double-check them. Pay close attention to the sender’s name and email and see if there are any grammar issues before downloading any attached files or clicking links.
We wish you a secure 2021! Follow these rules and use iNinja VPN to stay protected at all times.