2020 has been a challenging year for cybersecurity. The pandemic forced people around the world to move their lives online, but that wasn’t without consequences to their privacy.
And no one knows this better than the cybersecurity journalists who had to report it all. So, because CyberGhost has German roots and our development team still works their magic from Aachen, we went back home to do a bit of investigating ourselves.
After the year they’ve had, we asked 10 reputable German journalists one question: What is one simple yet overlooked thing people should do to protect their digital privacy?
Let’s see what they advise you.
Privacy tips and tricks from journalists
Are you ready to learn more about what you can do to stay anonymous online? Here we go!
Only with a VPN can you be protected from the dangers of the internet across devices.Sascha Hottes, Managing Director, Netzwelt.de
Use a secure browser that reliably rejects third-party cookies. A recommended browser is Firefox, for example.Log out of online services such as Google, Facebook & Co. when you are not using them. As long as you are logged in, they may collect data on you.Delete your history on social media and other online services if it makes sense for you. Typical candidates for deletion are, for example, the history of the videos you’ve watched on Youtube or your location history on Google.Provide as few of your personal details on the internet as possible.Use a VPN service to protect against eavesdropping attempts in WLAN and to conceal your IP address.Arne Arnold, Editor, PC-WELT Magazin (IT Media Publishing)
In addition to a reliable security solution such as Internet security, browser settings should be configured accordingly.Furthermore, every user should consider what information they share on social networks.A good password manager can also increase protection, and anyone who wants to play it safe when banking online or making other transactions should use a VPN client.Karsten Bunz, Editor, CHIP.de (CHIP Digital GmbH)
1. Data economy: As a matter of principle, disclose as little personal information as possible.2. Social networks: Don’t use social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok & Co.3. Search engines: Instead of Google, pick search engines like Startpage or Duck Duck Go that display search results anonymously.4. Cookies: Don’t accept all cookie requests; decide for yourself which ones are essential.Andreas Vogelsang, Senior Editor, CHIP Magazin
Everyone should run a second Windows on a virtual machine on their computer. The license only costs a few Euros. If you use it to go online, you can be less afraid of malware.In case you get a virus, you can reset your second Windows without data loss or delete it completely.This can, of course, be further refined with a VPN.Tom Rathert, Editor, PC Magazin (WEKA Media Publishing)
Use a password manager. It allows you to have individual and secure passwords for each account.Jörg Geiger, Freelance technical journalist
Passwords. For most people, the word elicits only a yawn. And yet, not enough internet users think about how to secure their digital identity.For example, only one out of ten Germans uses a password manager, although the BSI expressly recommends this.In our day-to-day digital life, we cannot do without a password manager any more than we can do without a VPN.These tools protect your digital privacy and save you a lot of time and trouble. You only have to remember one master password that secures your access to encrypted credentials.Meanwhile, you can also consider free, open-source password managers.Alexander Baetz and Lena Gruber, Bloggers, PrivacyTutor.de
Protecting yourself is now much easier than it was a few years ago. But you have to take advantage of the available tools.Two-factor authentication increases protection significantly and makes it more difficult for online criminals to steal personal data.I also recommend a password manager to ensure only strong passwords are in active use. And, of course, the continuous updating of all hardware and software.Panagiotis Kolokythas, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, pcwelt.de (IDG Tech Media GmbH)
The easiest and most effective measure is to install the add-on uBlock Origin in your browser (I recommend Firefox and/or Brave).This add-on blocks most trackers and does not interfere while surfing the internet. For more digital privacy, get the uMatrix or NoScript add-ons.However, they are relatively time-consuming and complicated to use, so they might not be suitable for every user.One more note on Brave: This is the only browser at the moment that, according to a study by Trinity College Dublin, does not send data to its manufacturer. Not even Firefox is free of telemetry. they might not be suitable for every user.Andreas Th. Fischer, Freelance IT journalist
On my list of small measures with a significant impact are unique passwords for each account, regular automatic deletions of all browser data, and blocking the transmission of usage data in PC software and apps.I also recommend data economy: only enter as little personal information as necessary online.What’s more, pick a VPN that doesn’t store data, monitor, or track your online activities. That means no one, including the VPN service, can’t decode your digital habits and see what you do online.Michael Rupp, Managing Director stroemung GmbH
Protect your digital privacy
You should always be in full control of your digital activity and data. And, as you could see, it’s something you can do in a few simple steps.
- Hide your IP address and encrypt your connection with a reliable VPN.
- Create robust passwords and protect your credentials with a password manager.
- Stay away from malware with an antivirus.
- Erase your digital footprint with a private browser.
- Limit your social media usage.
- Reject cookies and block ads to avoid adware.
Last but not least, continue educating yourself about online security and digital threats. By staying up to date, you’ll know how to protect yourself and avoid becoming the victim of a cybercrime.