Online activity has only increased in recent years. With the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have moved much of their operations online, many going so far as to become completely remote. The increase in online activity has also led to an upsurge in malicious activity and cyber attacks.
By the second quarter of 2022, the world had seen over 52 million data breaches. The highest number of breaches ever was reported in 2020, with a global increase in online activity. As people and businesses move online, it is important to employ safety and security systems to protect sensitive data and maintain safe spaces.
The Role of Privacy and Safety Tools
Privacy tools are used to stay safe while online. Such tools target various vulnerabilities to ensure that sensitive information is not breached, and the system is not held hostage by cyber attacks. Digital security starts with keeping your information safe as you operate online.
The basic premise behind these privacy tools is content filtering. This basic filtration system acts as a screen between the data and the end user. It is then able to determine what kind of data to let through, and what to exclude. Companies may use this to prevent employees from accessing certain sites during work hours. It also plays a bigger role in data security, by preventing malicious attacks.
Content filtering also contributed to DNS security, among other things. In its most basic application, it will use a system of blocklists to stay away from potentially harmful sites and content.
Online Safety Tools
As security risks rise, many tools have been introduced to keep your online activity safe. They act and operate in different ways to offer various aspects of digital security. Some of the best ones that are a must-have include:
Antivirus software, as the name suggests, is intended to keep your system safe from malware and viruses. It is the most basic and essential step in digital security. Antivirus software runs periodic scans of your system, removing files it deems harmful. Not only that, but it will also scan files before they are downloaded to your system, making sure that no malicious content even makes its way onto your system.
Regular scans are the best way to ensure your software is effective. It is also important to make sure it is up to date. Each update keeps the software apprised of the latest strains of malware and viruses, better equipping it to deal with them should your system ever land in such a situation.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
A VPN will protect your IP address from any malicious agents looking to use that information against you. With data encryption, you can hide your online activity from spying or IP tracking. The virtual address provided to you via a VPN essentially hides your online activity, allowing you to browse anonymously.
Not only is your location secure while using a VPN, but so is your data. Any data transmitted receive end-to-end encryption, which makes it impossible to be stolen. Without an encryption key, your data cannot be accessed by anyone, regardless of any malicious intent.
Password managing tools are a simple yet brilliant foray into data security. For a secure password, you need an effective combination of numbers, letters, and special characters of a viable length. That is good practice for passwords, but very difficult to remember. All your accounts need to have different passwords, and simply storing them on your device runs the risk of the passwords being lost should someone gain access to your device.
Managers help you come up with secure passwords, made up of a random jumble of numbers, letters, and characters. They are then safely stored and protected with encryption. You still have the option of auto-login, so you never need to memorize the passwords, without worrying about them being stolen.
A firewall acts as a protective barrier between a private network and the online world. Following the same content filtering principle, firewalls monitor online activity and look out for suspicious sites or data. When something like that is detected, site access is immediately prevented and traffic is blocked to protect the system.
All incoming traffic is reviewed by the firewall. Valid traffic is allowed to pass through to your systems, and any suspicious traffic, such as something believed to contain malware or to be the work of hackers, is immediately blocked. A firewall essentially acts as a gatekeeper for your system.
Data encryption software adds a layer of security to your data. By itself, it can’t prevent or even alert the system to an attack. However, should an attack occur, you want to keep the damage to a minimum. Data encryption scrambles data on the basis of a unique code. Without the encryption key, the data can’t be read.
Encryption is a surefire way to make sure, even if data is stolen, it cannot be used by hackers or for ransomware purposes. Your information remains secure and useless to anyone trying to steal it.
Use Safe Online Practices
A greater foray into the online world has opened up our systems and networks to greater cyber threats. It is important to implement safety practices at every turn to ensure your online presence does not compromise our security. There are various tools available today that you can use to protect your privacy and maintain digital security.