Keeping your private information safe might sound easier said than done, but it can be in fact, about as easily said as done. The main thing is to start cultivating the right habits. Internet security is no accident, but it’s not a terribly complicated process, either. By following just a few simple habits, you’ll cease to be low-hanging fruit and start being the fruit that sits a little higher up the branch. And that can protect you from a fair amount of attacks.
Get a VPN
Once the domain of hardcore hackers and torrent aficionados, a VPN is now a must for basically everyone who uses the Internet and wants to do so with a minimum of privacy. A VPN or virtual privacy network conceals your traffic at the packet level, meaning only incredibly savvy hackers and state actors can pick up what you’re putting out.
Get the Right Browser Extensions
Browser extensions are another thing that used to be strictly for techy nerds, but is now for anyone who wants to keep their information locked down tight. You should have a browser that blocks scripts, as well as one that makes sure you’re accessing every site via HTTPS and not HTTP. Finally, an extension that tells tracking cookies to take a hike will help to insulate you from illegal hackers and corporate snoops alike.
Get Multiple Emails
You should be using different emails for different functions. One for social media, another for online commerce, another for communication, another for business. Think about the various ways that you use the Internet. Now get an email for each of them. The more you can divide up your online identity, the better.
Get a Password Solution
You can’t remember a 25-character-long password made up of random numbers, letters and random characters… but an app can. What’s more, it can tell you when it’s time to change your passwords. Even if your computer is stolen, you’ll still have access to all those hard to remember -- and hard to crack -- passwords.
Get a Deep Cleaner
Your computer generally doesn’t come with enough utilities to keep itself clean. You want something that will clean out those cookies and all the little bits and bobs you leave laying around when you’re browsing the Internet.
These are all fairly easy and common-sense steps that anyone can take to ensure that their computer and home network are more secure.
Nicholas Pell is a freelance writer based in Hollywood, CA. He writes about music, personal finance and technology for publications such as LA Weekly, Salon and Business Insider. He’s been online since the days of Usenet groups and bulletin board systems.