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3 ways to protect your online privacy

Eliza Mills Apr 21, 2017
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Ed Stroz knows online security. He’s a former FBI agent who started the agency’s computer crimes division. Now he runs security firm Stroz Friedberg, which helps businesses design products with internet protections in mind. 

In the wake of the recent congressional vote to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s Obama-era internet privacy rules, concern about online security threats — including malware, hacking and the selling of personal data — has grown.

When it comes to protecting our online lives, who should foot the bill? Companies or consumers? Stroz tackled this question and offered advice on how to protect yourself in cyberspace.

1. Use two-factor authentication. Many sites and apps — most email services, social networks and banks — offer two-factor authentication when logging in. Basically, you get a token (in the form of a numeric pass code sent to your phone or email) that proves it’s really you logging in. Using two-factor authentication makes it harder for hackers to steal your login information when you access the internet on an open wireless connection. 

2. Use a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, is designed to protect you not only from hackers, but from internet service providers. If you don’t want your ISP to sell your personal data, as they are now legally able to, a VPN hides your browsing information and personal details from even your cable company’s prying eyes. 

3. Check your sources. You know you should have a Wi-Fi password at home, but when you’re out in the Wild West of Wi-Fi, things aren’t always so secure. If you can’t use your LTE or 4G connection to access the internet (a fairly safe move), it’s always best to check that the free Wi-Fi network you choose isn’t going to be dangerous. And things aren’t always what they seem. Hackers can create networks designed to trick you into thinking they’re the local library or coffee shop. Best practices? Ask. If you’re in a public place, find a business providing Wi-Fi and make sure it’s their network you’re logging onto. 

To hear Ed Stroz’s full interview, tune in using the audio player above. 

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