Tips for protecting your digital privacy

Tips for protecting your digital privacy

Date: 18/01/24

Author: Shia Mitchell

Data privacy or information privacy is focused on how data should be collected, stored and shared with third parties. Most data privacy policies will outline this and how the management of users’ data is compliant with privacy laws such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  

As more and more online users opt into services, download information and create accounts across the world wide web, it becomes even more important to raise awareness around what information you offer third parties and how it can be used.   

With Data Privacy Day just around the corner, what better time to give you some best practice tips to help you improve your privacy and data protection? 

Don’t ignore data protection and privacy policies

As we all know, most of us aren’t spending the time to read the lengthy privacy data and data protection statements on every website we visit. And although the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is making it harder for companies and providers to hide clauses in their statements that enable them to give away our personal data and use it in unjust ways, there is still the unsavoury thought that some may continue to do so.  

If in doubt, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the internet. It offers a third-party server and encrypted connection, so any data you send or receive online will be better protected. 

Don’t let your guard down – especially on social media 

It can be easy to see social media as the innocent and carefree new friend who just rocked up a week ago and now spends every day at your home, eating all your food and calling themself your bestie.

But we must remember that, in some cases, we share even more data about ourselves on social media than anywhere else online. If left unchecked, opportunists may be able to piece together information and use it to find vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your privacy settings for any apps and social platforms you use and proactively choose and assess which information you are willing to share. 

Get your password practices in good order

Each day another website or app asks us to create a new password, and we can quickly become lax when creating good passwords. Given that most data breaches are achieved due to weak passwords and password management and that the number one most-used password in 2022 was... actually... “password”, this all feels like a recipe for disaster. But worry not. We’re here to instil some password savvy in you. So, follow these simple rules:   

  • Use strong passwords — and we don’t mean your child, partner or pet’s name. Aim for around 16 characters with a good mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters (like @*$). but don’t go too crazy on the random configurations as it’s best to have a password that’s memorable for you but impossible for others to guess! 

  • Avoid reusing your passwords — if hackers gain access to one, they will usually try this password on other sites. 

  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA) — this process demands an additional method for signing in that’s personal to you. 2FA can be a verification code sent to your phone number or email address or a notification with a confirmation message sent through an app on your device. This method deflects up to 99.9% of false login attempts. Score! 

  • Don’t share your password — please, oh please, don’t do this. There’s a chance that person might write it down, and someone else will find it. 

  • Use a password manager — we get it. We’re human. We can’t be expected to remember every variation of every password we’ve created. That’s why a password manager takes the stress out of creating secure and unique passwords.

Keep everything up to date

It can be highly tempting to delay updating software and firmware, especially when those annoying reminders pop up right in the middle of an important task. But, unfortunately, hackers are also privy to how most users delay updates and tend to take advantage of our tardiness.   

If you haven’t already noticed, many devices automatically download and install updates at times that cause the least friction for you (mobile phones when you are asleep, computers as you are powering them down).   

If your device does not automatically update, or you have turned this feature off. It is even more crucial to set aside time to update your devices. Especially for the following: 

  • Operating systems — so you can be sure you always have the latest security fixes. This is especially important for Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart home appliances. Even though they may not carry any critical data themselves, if not updated, they could be used to access other devices with personal data stored on them. 
  • Firmware updates — to ensure your device continues to run the way it should and avoid any pesky glitches. This is especially important for Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart home appliances. Even though they may not carry any critical data themselves, if not updated, they could be used to access other devices with personal data stored on them.  
  •  Web browsers — you’d be surprised how much information your browser holds — passwords, website history, cookies, the list goes on. So keeping this first line of defence in tip-top shape makes sense – especially if you accidentally visit a malicious website that could open you to fishing attacks.   
  • Anti-virus and anti-malware software — keeping both updated will ensure they always have the latest information on threats and make them more prepared to defend your data from attacks.   


Gain a better understanding of cybersecurity 

With poor data privacy practices, users often leave themselves open to all manner of cyber threats. That’s where cybersecurity can help. Cybersecurity covers the systems and processes used to protect hardware, software and data on computers, networks and mobile devices from cyber threats and unauthorised access to sensitive information. It’s crucial to have a good understanding of what cybersecurity is as some malicious attacks aim to access, alter, delete destroy or even extort personal information. 

Common cyber threats include: 

  • Malware, including ransomware, Remote Access Trojans (RATs), botnet software, rootkits and bootkits, spyware, Trojans, viruses, and worms. 

  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks flood servers, systems, and networks with traffic to knock them offline. 

  • Domain Name System (DNS) attacks compromise the DNS and redirect traffic to malicious sites. 

  • Backdoor attacks allow unauthorised remote access to your devices. 

  • Formjacking inserts malicious code into online forms to steal sensitive data. 

  • Cryptojacking — installs forbidden cryptocurrency mining software which can steal sensitive data. 


How 100% full fibre can keep your household safer online 

When thinking about how best to protect your household’s data privacy, it can be helpful to start at the foundation; your internet connection. The great news is, that times have progressed since the days of slow, degrading copper broadband connections. 100% full fibre is the brand-new kid on the block that’s overcome all the shortcomings of its predecessors, including stability, security, speed and coverage – now that’s a match made in heaven for all your IoT smart home devices. 
If you’re interested in getting London’s fastest broadband speeds at a price that the national providers find hard to beat, Community Fibre offers the best of both worlds. Enjoy symmetrical download and upload speeds and an award-winning, dedicated 100% full fibre network that’s up 99.9% of the time. To top things off, our advanced mesh routers offer better coverage than vulnerable WiFi extenders and come with additional security features like parental controls.