Protecting oneself from robbers or murderers is not enough anymore. You must learn to protect yourself from getting spied as well. No, I am not talking about stalking (not that you do not need protection from that too). But, online spying has become very common and we must keep ourselves safe.
Everything from our web browsing to mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) products installed in our homes has the potential to erode our privacy and personal security, and you cannot depend on vendors or ever-changing surveillance rules to keep them intact. Therefore, we bring you this article with 12 ways that will help you to protect yourself from getting spied.
If you are more comfortable using Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or another browser, there are still ways to improve your security without implementing major changes to your surfing habits.
Table of Contents
Always Use Anti-Malware
To start with, you’ll need to establish solid protection for your computer. Most antivirus programs for both Windows and macOS will protect against keyloggers, webcam hackers, and other types of spyware, especially if you vigilantly keep this software up to date.
Malicious tools like spyware are quite hard to detect and hence remove. Therefore, it is best to use an anti-malware tool. These applications secure your device from any malicious third-party applications, and that also includes spyware apps. After you install it, you do not even need to worry about any future spyware tools. Thai is because these applications update their database on a routine basis.
How do you choose? You won’t find a “one-size-fits-all” security solution for everyone. For most home computers, free software should provide an adequate level of protection, but paying for an upgraded version of the program will increase your chances of staying safe.
This article on How to deal with viruses on Android? will help you protect your android device and will keep you away from spies.
All Cookies are not sweet
Clearing out your cookie caches and browser histories can prevent ad networks from collecting too much information about you. The easiest way to do so is to clear the cache (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Edge). When you delete cookies from your computer, you erase information saved in your browser, including your account passwords, website preferences, and settings. This is the most obvious step to protect your computer from any unwanted intrusion and to protect yourself from getting spied.
HTTP v. HTTPS (similar spelling but significant difference)
When you visit a website address, you will find Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). The latter option uses a layer of encryption to enable secure communication between a browser and a server.
The most important thing to remember is while HTTPS is best used by default in general browsing when it comes to online purchases, it is crucial for protecting your payment details from eavesdropping and theft.
It is still possible for payment details to be stolen on the vendor’s side, but to reduce the risk of theft as much as possible you should not hand over any valuable information to websites without HTTPS enabled.
To find out whether HTTPS is enabled, look in the address bar for “https://.” Many browsers also show a closed padlock.
Time to move on from your old search engines
Google’s search engine, alongside other major options such as Yahoo! and Bing, make use of algorithms based on your data to provide “personalized” experiences. However, one can use browsing histories and search queries to create crossover user-profiles detailing our histories, clicks, interests, and more, and may become invasive over time. (Ever purchased a toaster and then seen ads for toasters frequently? There is a reason for that.)
To prevent logging of such data, consider using an alternative that does not record your search history and blocks, advertising trackers. These options include DuckDuckGo, Qwant, Startpage, and the open-source Searx engine.
If you wish to stay with your current browser you can also use software that bolts onto your browser to enhance the privacy and security of your surfing activities. If you are a user of Google Chrome. you may want to learn these 5 ways to speed up Google Chrome.
Check to make sure your software is up to date and use a Firewall
Keep your software up to date. This helps patch vulnerabilities in your software that could allow hackers access to your device. Thus, a much required step to protect yourself from getting spied is to keep your device updated.
A firewall is a network security system. It provides a wall of defence by monitoring traffic to and from your network. In short, it can help keep the bad guys out.
Your computer comes with a firewall, which will prevent unauthorized access to your computer. Keep in mind, most firewalls need to be turned on. If you have never enabled your firewall, it is a clever idea to do it now.
Secure your Wi-Fi
Hackers may target your home wireless router to gain access to your network. That means they might access things like your emails, social media, or bank accounts.
Here are a few basic tips to help protect against that.
- Create a name and password for your router in Security Settings, then select a type of encryption (more about his in No. 2 below).
- Avoid to use simple names for your router. Something anyone can associate with you, such as your name or address. Also, make sure you create a complex password such as one using a random string of letters, numerals, and special characters.
- Choose the most secure and recent form of encryption available. That is, Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, also known as WPA2
- Be sure to save the updated information when prompted.
Avoid all suspicious links
Cybercriminals can gain control over your device — including your webcam — by tricking you into installing malware.
That is why you should never click on suspicious links in emails or download files from people you do not know. This is one of the most common ways that hackers gain access to your devices.
What is a smart defense? Only download attachments and click on links in emails from people that you trust. Even then, if something looks suspicious, call or text them to find out if it is legitimate. You can also search a website link to see how safe it is. There are various websites to protect you and keep you safe from getting spied. You may visit this website provided by Google as well.
Cover or unplug your webcam
If your camera has an indicator light, and it goes on — and you did not do it — it is a sign your webcam has been hacked.
And if the indicator light does not go on? Keep in mind that hackers can sometimes disable the light.
Indicator light aside, hackers have had real-life success hijacking webcams. For instance, hackers have used webcams to capture compromising images of unknowing victims and, in some cases, have demanded ransom in exchange for not distributing the image or posting them on the web.
You can cover the device’s camera with a sticker or tape. This is the best way to prevent any intrusion of privacy and will protect you from getting spied.
How to check if your webcam is hacked
There are two steps you can take to help determine if your webcam is hacked.
1. Check your webcam light. If your light turns on while you are not using your webcam, there is a chance that your webcam is hacked. However, another application running on your computer may have turned on the light, so ensure that all other applications are closed first.
However, just because your webcam light is not turned on does not mean your webcam has not been hacked. Sometimes, hackers can disable your light. Keep in mind, too, that it is sometimes possible to turn off your webcam light in settings.
2. Run a security scan. By running a scan on your device to determine any infection on your computer, you can identify viruses or other security threats quickly and prevent their spread. For Windows 10 computers, go to Settings and find the Updates & Security tab, then click on Scan Now. You can also run a scan using your security software or downloading a reputable antivirus application.
Get a virtual private network (VPN)
Security software does a lot of the work in blocking malware that could lead to someone remotely taking control of your webcam — but it is smart to add another layer of security.
That is where a virtual private network comes in.
A VPN can increase your online privacy and anonymity by creating a secured, private network from any internet connection you access. That could be in your home or on a public Wi-Fi network.
Public Wi-Fi networks can be especially vulnerable to hacking, but a VPN helps protect the data you send and receive while accessing public networks.
Use trusted tech support
Additionally, you must check this article on Cybersecurity: All you need to know in 2022 to protect yourself from any cyberattacks. Also, to know more about cyber attacks that took place in India and the challenges it will face in 2022 click here.
Use Encryption Tools
Encryption uses cybersecurity to defend against brute-force and cyber-attacks, including malware and ransomware. The phone storage should be encrypted to close all the doors for hackers that lead to a privacy breach. If your device is lost or stolen, even the advanced adversaries will have no chance of getting to your data.
Avoid infection to protect yourself from getting spied
Even with a strong antivirus program in place, you don’t want to give spyware a chance to gain a foothold in your computer. If you want to keep prying eyes off your system, you’ll need to monitor all the potential ways malicious code can worm its way into your machine.
Sadly, some spyware enters through the household, when people attempt to pry into the computer behavior of their friends and family members. While we’re sure everyone in your home is perfectly trustworthy… a shared computer should still have separate user accounts for each person who relies on that machine. Protect those accounts with passwords to keep out snoops: In Windows, do so via Settings > Accounts; in macOS, check the setting in System Preferences > Users & Groups.
THANK YOU FOR READING! I hope this article was helpful. If it was, then let us know in the comments down below. Also, if you're interested in similar articles, then here are a few recommendations for you. How to improve Android security| 10 Android security tips. Best Free Password Managers in 2022