Being familiar with internet privacy best practices is more important than ever for corporations and organizations.
It’s no secret that there has been a surge of major corporate hacks, increasingly restrictive surveillance laws of governments around the world and authoritarian regimes blocking the Internet to restrict the freedom of speech. 2017 is bringing with it a new political era, and new and emerging technologies that will be able to both help and hinder your organization.
So, what are some best practices for Internet privacy?
- Understand Browser Privacy Settings – Your computer’s internet browser may not be the be-all, end-all of security for your machine, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a few tricks up its sleeve. Become familiar with your chosen browser’s privacy settings, for things like allowing sites to add cookies automatically, as a first step towards improved privacy.
2. Encrypt Everything – Cloud-based programs like DropBox and Gmail have become synonymous with enterprise-level technology, but being on the cloud can be insecure without proper encryption. Ensure everything you do involving the cloud is properly encrypted, otherwise your internet expeditions may become public knowledge. Additionally, utilizing encryption for any communication will ensure it’s only read by verified viewers.
3. Control Your Wireless – Being able to access a public wireless network is one of the most common ways hackers can invade your network privacy. By limiting your network access to allow only authorized devices, you can be sure only the people who belong on your wireless are involved in your network.
4. Add A Step to Security – One of the more popular method of ensuring internet privacy is two-step authentication. This process would ask for a user to enter separate verification across different mediums to enter a secured site, such as a password on a computer and a text-alert PIN verification via smartphone, or a password and PIN combination.
5. Enable Safer Offsite Communications – For employees working out-of-office, or even within the office but not on the traditional network, VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are the best way to offer secure and reliable connectivity. Even within an existing network VPNs can be used to mask traffic, making it harder to trace users on a network.
6. Don’t Link Accounts – While this is mostly focused on social media, linking accounts of any kind can be a danger to privacy. Having access across multiple entry points to social media, work logins or the like means that once a hacker has access to one portal, they can control it all, and everything you relied on is now compromised.
7. Employ POLP – The Principle of Least Privilege, or POLP, is a core fundamental of effective network privacy. This strategy allows users to have access to only what they need – and blocks them from being able to access and/or download more sensitive data, which restricts the amount of entry points malicious entities have into your sensitive information.
8. Test Your Systems – Do you want to know how well your protection systems are holding up? Employ penetration tests and vulnerability scans to ensure your privacy protections are up-to-speed.
9. Consider Peer-to-Peer – If privacy is of the utmost importance, consider using a peer-to-peer browser like Tor. These anonymous browsing tools allow users access to the “dark web,” which is nearly completely anonymous and often used for professionals like journalists speaking with confidential sources due to the browser’s ability to dodge tracking. Navigating the “dark web” is dangerous, however, so explore at your own risk.
10. Have A Plan of Action – If you find out your privacy measures aren’t holding up, what do you do? Having an effective incident response plan in place can be the defining factor in stopping an attack once it gets through your defenses. It must be constructed, implemented and practices beforehand however, because once your safeguards have been breached it’s too late for a test run.
Internet privacy has never been more important for both corporate and personal interests. The tips above are a solid first-step towards improved internet privacy, but in order to get the most of out the latest technology and strategies, working with a trusted IT partner is the most effective answer. Working with a local IT partner like NENs is the best way to ensure a private and safe 2017.