One of the scariest things about using the internet is the issue of privacy. It can often feel like your information is simply out there for the taking and you have no control over who can access it. There are a few things you can do to protect your privacy and ease your mind.

1. Don’t Share Personal Information Before Reading the Fine Print

You cannot completely avoid sharing personal information. Signing up to blogs, buying online, and accessing various personal accounts requires that you do so. What you can do is make sure that your information is protected before sharing it. Read the privacy policy to know how your information will be used. If the website does not have a privacy policy, do not give them your information! Never share unnecessary information. Required information is usually marked by a red asterisk (*). Also, ask yourself whether the information being asked of you makes sense in the context. For example, an online shop should not ask for your social security number.

2. Configure Your Browser’s Settings

If you visit your browser’s settings, there should be an option to browse without sharing your information. In Chrome, for example, this is called “incognito”. It is also recommended to erase cache, cookies, and browsing history on a regular basis.

3. Configure the Privacy Settings on Your Social Profile

Just because you want to secure your privacy does not mean you can’t use social networks. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to keep your profile completely private and only visible to friends that you have approved.

4. Protect Your Computer

Never leave your computer in a public place unguarded. Also, make sure to prevent access to your computer from hackers by using a firewall and always keeping your operating system, browsers, and all software up to date.

5. Use an Internet Security Suite

Purchase an internet security suite that includes safe browsing and secure shopping and banking features. Some products also include an encrypted browser that allows you to shop, bank, and browse without having to worry about privacy at all.

As long as you follow these basic tips, there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy all of the benefits of browsing, social media, and online shopping without having to compromise your privacy. You can check out our ranking of the best online security products right here.