Follow This Cybersecurity Checklist to Boost Your Online Privacy

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As escalates, the risk of global cyberattacks intensifies. The FBI has recently warned private industry and US infrastructure leaders about the threat of ransomware and other online security attacks arising from the military conflict, per .

There’s no similar warning for individual citizens, but the heightened global risk marks an opportune time to evaluate and upgrade your own online security practices. Whether you’re new to online privacy protection or a security-software veteran, run through our cybersecurity checklist to make sure you’re optimally protected.

Bitwarden also provides a breach feature that scans your stored accounts and sends alerts when security breaches occur at any of them. Catching a hack of a website or e-tailer early and updating your account credentials can ease your mind and save you from potential headaches.

Whilte Bitwarden is an excellent free option for managing passwords, it isn’t the only player in the game, CNET’s list of  can get you up to speed on the top products for keeping your authentication information secure.

While you’re beefing up your login practices, consider enabling two-factor authentication for your social media and email accounts. For sites like Twitter, Facebook or Google, enabling this extra layer of protection means you’ll be prompted on login to enter not only your password but a secondary form of authentication, often a single-use SMS security code sent to your .

Adopt encryption

Simplified encryption apps on your cellphone offer privacy by scrambling your communications so anyone who intercepts them is unable to read them — as long as both the message sender offering degrees of privacy for video chats, hard drives, email and more. But remember: fishy files can still find their way to an encrypted inbox. Run suspicious attachments through an online virus scanner like before unleashing them on your device.

Stop web browsers from spying on you

The ubiquity of Google’s Chrome web browser makes accessing your personal info easier for everyone, not just you. A found https www google com –, trackers installed on 86% of the most popular websites. While , the plain fact is that you need to be vigilant to keep from all over the internet. In Chrome or Firefox or most other popular browsers, you can use private mode or incognito mode to protect your browsing sessions. 

Intermediate level

Get a VPN

A virtual private network is an essential layer of browsing software-based security that creates a private network between you, the websites you visit, and any wireless devices you’ve connected to. While VPN use won’t guarantee absolute privacy, it generally works by blinding your internet service provider to the websites you visit, and blinding websites to your IP address. And it’s absolutely critical if you’re on public Wi-Fi and anyone could be potentially snooping on you, or worse. 

VPN prices range as widely as their security, which is largely based on which protocols are used. A long-time favorite like , for example, might cost $89 a year, but it keeps no log of user activity, allows you to pay in bitcoin and offers a connection kill switch. 

CNET’s side-by-side  we’ve found in 2022 can steer you away from the rocks.

Learn Tor

Similar to a VPN, the Tor browser operates through an ever-expanding network of servers. In Tor’s case, every request made from your computer bounces through an encrypted relay system of intermediaries to keep your identity hidden and make tracking your activity intensely difficult. The relays, or nodes, are volunteer-operated and open. 

Unfortunately, there are no official Tor browsers for iOS but Tor has install options for both Windows and MacOS, and an official app for Android. Security is a slow business, though. Don’t expect to stream movies via Tor browsers. 

Head over to the for the installer and set-up instructions. 

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