Need to protect your privacy? Here are 10 incredibly simple steps to keep you absolutely private:
Password Protect Your Devices
Choosing not to password protect your devices is the digital equivalent of leaving your home or car unlocked. If you’re lucky, no one will take advantage of the access. Or maybe the contents will be ravaged and your favorite speakers and/or secrets stolen.
Put A Google Alert On Your Name
This is an incredibly easy way to stay on top of what’s being said about you online. It takes less than a minute to do. Go here: http://www.google.com/alerts and enter your name, and variations of your name, with quotation marks around it. Boom. You’re done.
Sign Out Of Your Online Accounts When You’re Finished Using Them
Not only will this slightly reduce the amount of tracking of you as you surf the Web, this prevents someone who later sits down at your computer from loading one of these up and getting snoopy. If you’re using someone else’s or a public computer, this is especially important. Yes, people actually forget to do this, with terrible outcomes.
Don’??t Give Out Your Email, Phone Number, Or Zip Code When Asked
Obviously, if a sketchy dude in a bar asks for your phone number, you say no. But when the asker is a uniform-wearing employee at Best Buy, many a consumer hands over their digits when asked. Stores often use this info to help profile you and your purchase. You can say no. If you feel badly about it, just pretend the employee is the sketchy dude in the bar.
Encrypt Your Computer
Encrypting your computer means that someone has to have your password (or encryption key) in order to peek at its contents should they get access to your hard drive. On a Mac, you just go to your settings, choose “Security and Privacy,” go to “FileVault,” choose the “Turn on FileVault” option. Boom goes the encryption dynamite. PC folk need to use Bitlocker.
Turn On 2-step Authentication In Gmail
This simple little step turns your phone into a security fob – in order for your Gmail account to be accessed from a new device, a person (hopefully you) needs a code that’s sent to your phone. This means that even if someone gets your password somehow, they won’t be able to use it to sign into your account from a strange computer. Google says that millions of people use this tool, and that “thousands more enroll each day.” Be one of those people.
Pay Cash For Embarrassing Items
Don’t want a purchase to be easily tracked back to you? You’ve seen the movies! Use cash. One data mining CEO says this is how he pays for hamburgers and junk food these days.
Change Your Facebook Settings To “Friends Only”
Visit your Facebook privacy settings. Make sure this “default privacy” setting isn’t set to public, and if it’s set to “Custom,” make sure you know and are comfortable with any “Networks” you’re sharing with.
Clear Your Browser History And Cookies On A Regular Basis
When’s the last time you did that? If you just shrugged, consider changing your browser settings so that this is automatically cleared every session. Go to the “privacy” setting in your Browser’s “Options.” Tell it to “never remember your history.” This will reduce the amount you’re tracked online. Consider a browser add-on like TACO to further reduce tracking of your online behavior.
Use An IP Masker
To hide your online footprint, you can download Tor or use an easy browser-based option like HideMyAss.com.
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