When you are online, everything you do is tracked. Sometimes your activity is tracked by multiple companies who sell this information to other interested parties. Try pipl.com to check how many companies have your address, phone number, income etc. Your information is money for the good, the bad and they ugly. It can be used to sell products, target you in customized advertisements or steal from you.
Regardless of the security measures implemented by industry giants like Yahoo, Facebook, Dropbox, etc. passwords have been hacked in the past and no one can guarantee that they can’t be hacked again. In such an environment protecting your personal information is more important than ever. Follow these simple steps to secure and protect your privacy online:
- Enable 2-step authentication: 2 step authentication means when you log into a service like Facebook, Gmail, etc. in addition to your regular password you’ll need to enter a code that the service texts to your mobile phone. The process takes a few seconds but ensures that only you can access your account even if someone has your password.
- Create a unique password for each account: When your account has been compromised, anyone with access to it can also gain access to your other accounts that have the same username and password combination. You can use a password manager like LastPass to generate and remember all your passwords.
- Use incorrect information for security questions: Security questions can be easily breached if you answer your security questions accurately. Generic information (like your zip code) to answer security questions can be easily dug up by researching online and it can be used to reset your password.
- Enhance your social media privacy: Most social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are a one stop shop for anyone looking to collect information on you. However, with a few clicks you can protect which information is in the public domain. Access the settings section of a service and look for privacy options and make sure you are sharing only what you want to.
- Disable GPS and Wifi: GPS and Wifi broadcast precise, up to the minute information to app developers and platform provider. Disabling both will not only protect your privacy by preventing apps from broadcasting your information but also help improve your battery life considerably.
- Install reputable computer security software: When you purchase a new computer install an antivirus scanner, antispyware scanners and firewall software. Even though these security software cannot protect your privacy on their own they create an effective line of primary defense. Use private browsing when you can.
- Beware of phishing scams: Online services of any kind, including banking and email services, will never ask for your personal information. Never click on any links or respond to emails that request for your personal information. Giving out your personal information and social security number can even result in identity theft.
Do you know any other good tips? Let us know! @HostSurfUK