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Three steps to secure your online (and offline) life

We hold our lives in our hands when we pull out our smartphones. These devices contain intimate photos, scheduling information, data on our location, and comprehensive information about almost everything we have done or want to do.

The problem is that we think about protecting our devices from a technical perspective – ensuring HTTPS communication, restricting access to databases, or vetting network security – and we will never work successfully at protecting them. These jobs are just too technical and/or boring for most of us to see through all the way to completion.
The answer is to not think about protecting that little rectangular package of glass, plastic, and rare earth metals and instead focus on protecting yourself. Yes, maybe this is just about you.

Remember, it’s your life to look after

Yes, we need to stop thinking of our IT security as a technology issue but as simply part and parcel of securing ourselves as living, breathing human beings – each of us with our private stories, limited amounts of time, and desire to experience the best and fullest of life. The good news is that each of these three nontechnical perspectives is a critical component to supporting our digital security:

1. Keep that (data) story to yourself

Your data is far more than a series of binary signals or data points – it is you. As difficult as it might be to keep track of hacked passwords, the situation is getting quickly more complex as our pictures and biometric data is accumulated by a number of parties – and then leaked thanks to errors or hackers. Technically speaking, you are at risk from a large and growing collection of persistent and ordinary spyware, trackers, and ransomware. More importantly, you just need to think that you are at risk of a pickpocket stealing your story before you have a chance to tell it and live it your way.

This is why you need a real security app on your device which can scan for, ID, and block malicious malware, uncover stalkerware, shut the door to online trackers, and point out the phish before they catch you. For your own security’s sake, try an app that has an established and certified track record of blocking out the bad stuff and protecting that private content within. To get an idea of what is available, what scored well, and what was a real security nightmare, do take a look at the latest results from AV Text.

2. Get the experience and the content you want

There is content you don’t and the content you want. Unless you are watching the Super Bowl, advertisements are not something you usually want to see. Then there are the sites and content you want to visit – but are shut out from, thanks to that site discovering that you are outside of their permissible geo-IP area. While there may be real economic justifications for keeping you from accessing that content, getting shut out from your favorite newspaper or streaming site while on vacation is just irritating – and does not have to happen. Online, a stream of popups and dubious advertisements is more than just irritating.

Technically speaking: a stream of ads and popups is a sign that a bogus app or a botnet is trying to seize control of your device. Your device’s IP address can be used to determine broadcasts your location down to the area of a couple blocks. Your geo-IP limitations limited to access to content , ad fraud is not the direct threat to your personal safety that stalkerware can be. But, it’s often an intermediate, doorway threat that opens up your device to other advertising schemes and potential malware.
Most importantly, and ad fraud all mess up your online experience. It’s your life, your device – why should you be subject to their distortions and marketing whims. Get a full-fledged VPN to open those geographic barriers and a something to shut out excessive ads.

3. Make the most of your time

Your time is limited – and so is your memory. You know there are less than 24 hours in each day because a person has to eat, sleep, and dress. Those are non-optional activities. And what about worrying about what the various apps on your phone are recording and get rid of that feeling of doom that you’ve misplaced or lost that device.  There are enough real issues to be concerned about in life to let any device take up more space in your head than it should. With Avira Free Antivirus for Android, you have security against online threats along with a battery of other privacy tools such as app lockdown, anti-theft, and VPN at your fingertips to help you focus on what is truly important.