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Privacy is crucial for your safety and security, whether you're online or not. But online privacy is especially vital given that things like your financial information, personal logins and even your identity can be stolen when hackers gain access to your personal data. That raises a huge question: How can you protect your privacy online?
One quick and easy way to protect your privacy online is to sign up for a password manager like LastPass Premium. It can help ensure that you create a strong enough password for each account you own — and keep it in a secure file — so that your data will remain private.
But why is online privacy so important and how can you make sure you're well protected? Here's what you need to know.
Why is online privacy important?
"It's crucial to have a firm understanding of what personal information is out there, how it can be used and what any negative implications may be for your reputation, safety or even your wallet," Tom Kelly, president and chief executive officer of consumer privacy platform IDX, tells Yahoo Life. "There are growing privacy concerns as internet sites become more and more aggressive in acquiring consumer data and harvesting it."
Social media can be a concern, too, Kelly says, since it "encourages people to share more of their daily lives than prudent, leaving themselves vulnerable to malicious hackers and bad actors."
There's also this to consider: A huge chunk of our personal information is stored digitally, tech and cybersecurity expert Chuck Brooks, president of Brooks Consulting International, tells Yahoo Life. "Almost everything we do is via digital communications — our banking, our shopping, telemedicine, personal emails, social media, travel schedules and more."
What can happen if you lose privacy protection online?
Online privacy ensures that your digital identity is secure, and it allows you to control what other people see and hear about you, Brooks says. "Loss of privacy puts everyone at risk for losing individual rights, cyber-crime and even extortion over stolen personal data," he points out.
How to protect your privacy online
Kelly recommends securing your accounts, "which must always start with understanding privacy and location-sharing options and choosing the greatest degree of security on these applications."
It's also important to secure your accounts with two-factor authentication and unique passwords whenever possible. LastPass Premium can help you generate unique passwords and store them securely for you.
Other tips from Brooks:
Don't share sensitive information with any site that is not secure and does not have a trustworthy record
Don't click on links you don't know
Consider avoiding using search engines and websites that track you
Don't use insecure routers and public WI-FI
Keep your operating systems and software updated
Maintain reputable anti-virus and anti-malware software protections on your devices
Do all of these things, experts say, and your online privacy should be better protected.