Your privacy on the Internet depends on your ability to control both the amount of personal information that you provide and who has access to that information.

Internet privacy is the privacy and security level of personal data published via the Internet. It is a broad term that refers to a variety of factors, techniques and technologies used to protect sensitive and private data, communications, and preferences.

Internet privacy and anonymity are paramount to users, especially as e-commerce continues to gain traction. Privacy violations and threat risks are standard considerations for any website under development. Internet privacy is also known as online privacy.

Here are 10 online privacy tips that can help keep your data protected online.

Secure Your All Devices

In addition to protecting your computer from malware, a good security software program will protect you from other threats on the Internet landscape. There are still many vulnerabilities out there such as phishing, spyware, rogue websites, adware, keyloggers and more.

Smarphones need as much protection as any other device, if not more. There are many security providers that offer free services. These can be risky as they mine data from your phone. Always go for a well-known service provider.

Keep Your Devices Up To Date

Software is complex and often has minor bugs. Hackers find and exploit these bugs to install malicious software. “Malware” – short for “malicious software” – can capture everything that you type and send it to scammers who use the information to access your account.

Fortunately, device makers and application developers are very diligent about providing updates to operating systems and applications. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your system and applications updated with the latest releases. The easiest way to do this is to enable automatic updates for your system and applications when possible.

Create A Unique Password

As always, creating a unique password is the vital first step to securing any online presence. While using one password across multiple sites is easier, it can leave you particularly vulnerable. If someone trying to gain access to your sensitive information figures out your password on any one of those sites, they can then access your other accounts. Especially with an app like PayPal that is connected to bank information, it’s important to create a strong password that you don’t reuse for any other accounts.

Enable 2FA

After creating a unique password, you can take advantage of a second layer of security PayPal provides. This is called the PayPal Security Key, which is a form of two-step verification. With the Security Key enabled, Paypal will create a step after you enter your password when logging into your account. It will have you click to send a code to your mobile device.

One you receive the code via SMS, you type in the key and then proceed to the next page. This again creates an extra barrier to someone gaining access to sensitive financial information: even if they have your password, they can’t get through the second layer of security without access to your mobile phone.

Avoid Confidential Accounts On Public Networks

It’s best that you don’t log in to your social media or online bank accounts at all when you’re using a public Wi-Fi network such as those in libraries, coffee shops, airports, and malls. Such networks routinely gather and send your data to third parties, and rogue networks can snoop on your traffic and passwords or inject malware onto your device.

The best way to protect yourself against such risks is to avoid accessing your social media or online bank via a public connection or someone else’s device. But if you have to (or really really want to), you should…

Always Use A VPN Connection

A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable.

Most important, VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.

At its core, a VPN makes you appear to be in a different physical location. They work by diverting your signal through another server, often in another country, utilizing a different IP address in the process. Essentially, this means that you can appear to be on the other side of the world, which has the added bonus of also providing privacy and anonymity, while unlocking access to streaming content in that country.

You could, for example, access Netflix content on your Windows PC browser that’s unavailable in the US, broadening your content options from the comfort of your gaming chair.

Keep Your Operating System Up To Date.

Software updates perform a myriad of tasks. They are available for both our operating systems and individual software programs. Performing these updates will deliver a multitude of revisions to your computer, such as adding new features, removing outdated features, updating drivers, delivering bug fixes, and most importantly, fixing security holes that have been discovered.

Always Hide Your IP Addresses

Your home, mobile phone, and office are all assigned unique identifiers by your internet service provider (ISP). Your ISP may, from time to time, allocate a new one, but over a short period, two requests from separate accounts over the same IP address is a good indicator that they are related. Depending on your country and ISP, it may be possible to find out what ZIP code belongs to each IP address, or purchase other personal information directly from your ISP or an advertising company.

Use the Tor Browser. Each tab is automatically assigned a new circuit, meaning it has its own IP address. It’s always a good idea to use a VPN additionally. If you don’t have access to Tor or the sites you are using don’t work in Tor, you should switch your VPN server location when changing your accounts.

Never Click On Short URL

A URL shortener turns a long and bulky web address into a short address using a simple redirect. Third parties usually run URL shorteners, and it’s relatively easy for anyone to set up such a service.

Don’t click on shortened links without good reason. Use services like unshorten.it to see where a shortened URL leads to. If a link is unshortened, the creator of the original link will only see information obtained from the unshortening service, rather than your data. They will, however, know when you unshortened the link.

Manage Your Cookies

Cookies: Not only do they go great with milk, they’re also used to de-anonymize you online. Broadly speaking, websites use cookies to construct a virtual identification. This allows companies to track your movement and behavior across websites and feed you targeted ads.

To defend yourself against cookies, you can get browser add-ons such as uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger