How to secure your online privacy

Make sure you protect your digital presence
How to secure your online privacy
Online security can help prevent fraud and cybercrime

Securing online privacy has become a top concern for everyone. Online privacy is about protecting individual data from hackers or cybercrime. Additionally, it also involves an understanding of what information is deemed acceptable to share.

Here, we will walk you through multiple strategies to secure your online privacy effectively.

Five ways to secure your online privacy

Securing online privacy in the face of evolving cyber threats can seem difficult. Nonetheless, there are several proactive steps that you can take to improve the security of your online footprint.

1. Utilize secure networks

To start, you should always ensure the use of secure networks. All too often, we connect to open or public Wi-Fi networks without fully understanding the risks. These networks can be a playground for hackers, enabling them to easily access your personal data.

Therefore, when using such networks, it is prudent to utilize Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). A VPN encrypts your data and ensures that your online actions remain anonymous and secure from potential interception by unscrupulous individuals.

Moreover, securing your personal Wi-Fi connection is equally important. This involves changing the default router name and password, enabling network encryption, and regularly updating your router firmware.

Recently, the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority issued a statement clarifying that there is no regulation that prevents VPN use by companies, institutions and banks to gain access to internal networks via the internet. However, using VPN for the purpose of manipulating internet protocols with the intent to commit any fraud or crime is punishable by law.

2. Optimal privacy settings

Most social media platforms and browsers provide a range of privacy settings. However, they often default towards more open settings to collect data for advertising and marketing purposes. You can secure your online privacy by taking control of these settings.

On social media platforms, consider who you are sharing your posts with and limit access to your personal information. Similarly, modify your browser configurations to ensure maximum privacy.

Read: 5 digital habits to stay cyber-safe in 2023

3. Safe password practices

Another step towards securing online privacy is the implementation of safe password practices. Hackers often exploit weak passwords, making it all the more important to create strong and unique passwords. Thus, avoid using obvious information such as your name or date of birth. Instead, use a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.

More so, it is not advisable to use the same password across multiple sites. To manage the multitude of passwords, consider using a password manager.

securing online privacy

4. Practice secure browsing habits

This one involves visiting only reputable websites and checking for “https” in the URL, which signifies that the website has been secured with an SSL certificate. Also, avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from unverified sources, as they could lead to malware infections.

Furthermore, be mindful of third-party cookies and tracking scripts that monitor your online behavior. Consider using browser extensions that block these trackers, further elevating your online privacy.

5. Communication encryption

In addition, encrypting your communications is a powerful move towards securing online privacy. This means encrypting sensitive emails to keep the data secure from potential snoopers. Use email platforms that offer encryption services.

Likewise, adopt end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms. In these apps, only you and the recipient can decipher the messages, preventing intrusion from hackers and sometimes even the service providers themselves.

Privacy protection laws in the Middle East

Middle Eastern privacy protection laws have changed rapidly in response to the ever-changing digital landscape.

For instance, in the UAE, several laws tackle online privacy and data protection issues. These include the Cybercrime Law (Federal Law No. 5 of 2012) and the Electronic Transactions and Commerce Law (Law No. 2 of 2002). These regulations lay out stringent penalties for unauthorized access, disclosure, or misuse of personal data.

Similarly, Qatar’s Privacy and Protection of Personal Data Law (Law No. 13 of 2016) and Saudi Arabia’s E-Commerce Law (Royal Decree No. M/126) protect citizens’ privacy rights and set legal norms for online data handling.

Final thoughts

By fostering a culture of privacy-consciousness and implementing protective measures, we can mitigate the risks posed by the rampant cyber threats. Secure online privacy practices, apart from protecting individual data, also contribute to a safer, more secure, and more trustworthy digital environment in the Middle East.

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