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Online Privacy

Security vs. Privacy

Security and privacy work hand-in-hand. Online security is concerned with protecting your accounts and information from unauthorized access. Privacy is concerned with what personal information is available to other people. Your social media account might be secure with a strong password, but if you are posting personal information for anyone to see, then your social media account is not very private.

Securing your online accounts is an important step in protecting your privacy.

Strong Passwords

A strong password is the first step in securing and protecting your personal information and assets. The best method for creating a strong password is using the diceware method.

Many computer programs today can easily guess passwords that are shorter than ten characters. And with much of your personal information, likes, dislikes, and personal history available online, anyone with bad intentions can easily guess some of the familiar words you might use to create your passwords.

The diceware method uses a set of dice to randomly generate a set of words - a passphrase - that is strong in length and is not associated with your life. Watch the video below for directions on using the diceware method, or check out these directions created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security added on top of your password. After you enter your password, a code or notification will be sent to your phone. You will need to enter this code or use the app to log into your account.

By using your account's two-factor authentication tool, the only way someone can break into your account is if they have your password and your phone (and also the password to your phone).

Password Managers

It's important to have a unique password for each of your online accounts. This way, if one of your accounts is compromised, the culprit won't have access to any of your other accounts. But this makes it nearly impossible to remember all of your passwords.

Password managers can help with this because they store all of your passwords in one place. You only need to remember the password to your password manager to access and use your passwords for any of your accounts (so make sure it's a strong password!). Many password managers also have a password generator that allows you to set the length of the password and include numbers, capitalization, and special characters.

Below are the most popular password manager applications that have a free subscription level:

VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is another important way to protect your data when you're browsing online. VPNs create a secure network connection between your device and the websites you access online. They prevent internet service providers from tracking what you're doing online, and will protect your data from being hacked on public networks.

VPNs protect your privacy by

  • masking your location,
  • encrypting any data you send online, and
  • allowing you to search the web anonymously.

Most VPNs have a subscription fee. Free VPNs are available, but they may not be as secure as a paid service.