News & Updates

3 ways to stay private online

Suspicion has been growing over the last few years about just how private our online activity is. Many are reluctant about the idea of constant surveillance, worrying that the future will see every move we make on the internet being watched. Although there’s no guaranteed way of creating complete anonymity, here are a few ways you can make your online browsing and internet activity more private.

1. Encryption

Sometimes there is a need to impart confidential information online. You may have to give someone your bank account details, or send something private. Without encryption in place, you never know who could intercept the information, and what they could do with it.
Using a program such as GNU Privacy Guard for Windows (GPG4win) encrypts files and emails, adding a digital signature to show that the message was sent by someone specific, and hasn’t been tampered with. This sort of protection is vital for large businesses who may email employees, clients or customers, but can also be used in the home to keep any sensitive information that may be sent safe.

2. Secure your chats

You may not realise that any conversations you’ve had on popular messaging platforms such as Skype are all stored somewhere, and can be retrieved. This is a worrying prospect, because the people we tend to speak to when using such services, whether family, friends or colleagues, tend to be those we’re closest to, meaning we are therefore more likely to disclose confidential or private information.

Use off-the-record messaging (OTR) as a way of getting around this issue. Messages are encrypted, and there are no digital signatures after the conversation has ended, so there’s no way for a third party to know you sent the message. Just make sure each party in the conversation is using this type of messaging and has enabled it on their system.

3. Sign out of your accounts

It sounds obvious, but you may forget or not realise you are signed into various accounts at once, and what happens when you are. If you remain signed in to your Facebook, Google or other similar accounts while browsing, information is collected about you which can be used for advertising. Enabling your web browser’s private mode will automatically sign you out of all accounts, and won’t retain your browsing history.

To find out more about internet privacy, or for general computer support in Cairns, contact us now.