It is easy to talk about cybersecurity standards with IT personnel. They understand and can implement end-to-end encryption, vulnerabilities of public Wi-Fi, geo-restrictions, DNS over HTTPS, Man in the Middle Attacks, Evil Twin Attacks. These are employees that spend most of their time doing tech stuff, but the case is different with non-tech employees, freelancers and remote workers. If you’re one of these three bands, here is a simple, quick cybersecurity guide based on 5 tips that can help you preserve your digital privacy and sensitive data. 

Table of Contents

1. Update your software programs.

Most software publishers release security updates and extensions regularly to address viruses and bugs in the old versions. Therefore, we advise all users to update their operating systems to the latest versions, install the security updates suggested by their network managers or defender programs. If you think an app is consuming excessive data or battery, either delete the app or monitor its activities. Install an updated version of the same app to see if the performance gets better. 

2. Use VPN software. 

Tech world has a security protocol called encryption. The mechanism is effective simply because it hides the unique digital identity of an internet user: the IP Address. Virtual Private Network is a secure connection established on a conventional internet connection, but it’s only more private. This means if you are using a VPN software and have turned it on, you can hide your online activity from your internet service provider or any other online entity that’s poised to monitor you. Most people, whether they belong to tech or non-tech industry, use a VPN for streaming and gaming, but it does a lot more. If you don’t have access to one, you should buy VPN software, especially if you are in a traditional work setting, teaching or learning online during this global crisis.   

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3. Do not use publi cWi-Fi. 

Public Wi-FI networks are free, but unsafe for your digital identity and your device. These networks have thousands of active users at every second, not because they are free but because these are weak and can be penetrated with cyberattacks. Any bounty hunter, stalker, or hacker can attack these networks and sniff sensitive information, login credentials and data files accessed by people on that network. Therefore, we suggest users to not access their company and job profiles, documents, banking websites on these networks, especially if you did not buy VPN software and it is not running actively in the background. 

4. Use a secure browser, email provider and password manager. 

Security and privacy are fundamental digital rights, but not many people realize this and trade usability for internet safety and freedom. If you want to keep your digital privacy and safety intact, we advise you to surf the internet from a secure browser, use an email client that encrypts emails and deploy a password manager. For reference, you can browse using Mozilla Firefox or Tor: both do not sell user data, hide search queries, do not support ads, release regular security updates and have private windows. For an email provider, you can choose Tutanota or ProtonMail, both hide the email bodies and provide secure storage space. Tutnaota, however, has an edge because it also protects subject lines. 

Password management apps like Dashlane can simplify your overall online experience. With such an app by your side, you won’t have the hassle of creating unique complex passwords for different websites. You can also enable a 2 Factor Authentication feature in your software programs for an additional layer of security. 

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5. Install an antivirus program. 

An antivirus program is paramount to device-level security and performs the same function to protect users’ devices from malware the way a VPN acts to protect on the network. Reputable antivirus programs usually have an ad-blocker, Wi-Fi monitor to scan the security standards of a new Wi-Fi network and an app-checker which diagnoses the potential breaches, battery and data consumption and data leaks. Bitdefender and McAfee Security are right choices: their premium versions are ad-free and have different payment plans for individual and business users with multiple devices. 

You can create a foolproof quick cybersecurity suite for 2021 only with these 5 efficient apps. Buy VPN software and antivirus programs; Mozilla, Dashlane and basic accounts of ProtonMail are free. This cybersecurity suite will go a long way: it will protect your online freedom and privacy and reduce digital fingerprinting.