Going Beyond VPN
We at NordVPN are committed to making sure your online privacy and security are always protected. Subscribing to use a VPN is a first step in doing so, but we want to make sure you also review your habits and do not leave some personal data vulnerable, if by some reason you forget to turn on NordVPN.
Often our habits and information stored in the computer prior to getting a VPN might leave one vulnerable to a security breach. Here are some tips on optimising your online security prior to and beyond VPN use.
1. Always make sure your VPN is turned on.
Often by force of habit or a matter of convenience you might fail to turn on a VPN Service. It might seem perfectly innocent to perform a random search or otherwise seemingly simple activity when using WI-FI or your ISP Server. Be cautious! Thinking that VPN is only useful for banking transactions, accessing geo-blocked content or torrent downloads might leave you vulnerable. Your personal data is at risk at all times. Your habits might be tracked, passwords hacked, personal information stolen and inappropriately used. In other words, ‘don’t surf naked’- turn on your VPN.
To check if the VPN is ‘on’, you can go to What is my IP to check if your IP address has indeed changed.
2. Delete / Disable Cookies
Most websites try to leave traces of information (‘cookies’) on your computer when you visit them. Cookies are then used to track you when you visit again, tracking your activity and even following you on the net. You should erase these after leaving the website, or rather set your browser to either block or automatically delete cookies after you leave the website/ close browser. This is important if you do not have VPN turned on (by accident or otherwise) and visit the same website – you can be identified. Also beware of ‘flash cookies’ that are saved by flash enabled websites. Make sure you clear them also.
3. Signing Out of Your Accounts
Before you turn off VPN/ close online search browser, please make sure that you log out from your personal accounts. Staying logged in might create a window of opportunity for those who wait for that split second when you log back onto your device.
4. Password Management
It is ideal that you remember all your passwords. In order to make sure you account log in information is secure- more varied characters are needed and we know it’s difficult to remember them the longer they are. But be cautious. Avoid saving your passwords in cloud/ KeyChain/ auto saving by email provider/browser or your OS. If information is stored on your computer you might be vulnerable if you forget to turn on VPN service which encrypts your identity online.
Double authentication is an increasingly popular option in email provider security. Be careful as recovery accounts are also targets for hackers that wish to invade your privacy. Best tactic is to set up a difficult to guess address for the recovery account and use it only in case of emergency.
5. Lock down your router:
As you might feel more inclined to engage in more sensitive online transactions at home i.e. online banking- your home WI-FI router should be secured. Avoid selecting an easy to remember password, as it might also be easy to guess. Try using WPA2 encryption and strong password. The more random and long it is, the harder it is to guess/ crack.
6. Encrypt Beyond the Internet
VPN is a great security tool for encrypting your online presence. NordVPN uses double encryption to make sure you are safe using the internet. Outside of the online connection we encourage you to also encrypt your devices and portable drives. Encrypt your external hard drives, too—especially your backups.
7. Protect all of your devices on your network
We seldom notice how information is transferred from one device to another if using the same router, both at home and work. Small businesses and homeowners alike are encouraged to get a VPN that supports multiple devices to ensure there is no security breach/contamination from one device the entire network.
8. To the Extra Cautious: Tape The Webcam
Tape has many fixes, including the rare chance that someone might seek access to your web cam. With growing concerns of built in tracking in SIM Cards and other hardware- it might be a good idea to tape up the camera when you are not using it.