Ever since the incident involving Edward Snowden, people have started paying more attention to their online security and privacy. Unfortunately, issues like security are more challenging to straighten out than most people think. Many individuals have already sent a lot of private information to Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google, and other companies. Here are some of the top signs that you are giving away much more information than you need to, along with a few tools to help protect online privacy.
You Have Not Disabled the Location Services on Your Mobile Devices
Both iOS and Android have systems built in that ping your location when needed. You may have noticed this when posting to Facebook, and it reads “near there” where “there” is your city’s name. Almost any device on a mobile network can ping your location – at any time. This means that most of your apps, and the companies that own them, know where you are located.
You can fix this in iOS, but the way you fix it depends on the version of iOS you are using. For Android, you can go to the Location tab in settings and turn off all options.
All Your Status Updates are Public
When posting something on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, you do so publicly, which means everyone can see it. This means everyone – friends, friends of friends, people in other countries, your boss, and anyone else can see what you are posting on your personal social media accounts.
You can fix this on Twitter by making your entire profile private. For Google+ and Facebook, just change the post a status box that reads “public” to “private.”
You Use an Easy to Guess Password
You would be surprised how many people have horrible passwords. There are still some people who use “password” as their password. If you are using passwords under 10 characters, with no numbers, symbols, or capital letters, you are in trouble.
This is a pretty easy fix. You just need to create a stronger password. Use a mix of symbols, capital letters, numbers, and letters. It does not have to be ridiculous, but it should be strong.
You Connect to Public WiFi without a VPN
VPNs are virtual private networks. They let you connect to the internet on private networks even if you are connected to local WiFi. This is important because when connected to a public WiFi source, people can access the digital packets that are going through the connections. The packets often contain things like private information and passwords.
If you use a VPNs or private proxies, it is much harder for others to access these packets, which means your data is more secure. Today, setting up a VPN or a private proxy is easy and there are several service providers to choose from.
Are You Protecting Your Privacy?
When it comes to protecting your privacy, there are several steps you can take. In some cases, working with professionals to develop a quality plan is best. This will ensure you get the privacy that you want and need and eliminate your worry about stolen data and private information.
Have you ever really thought about how much data you are sharing online each day? If so, you know that maintaining your online privacy isn’t easy. Governments, corporations, and cybercriminals are working to eliminate the small amount of privacy that internet users have left.
Today, this concern is more prevalent than before. From allegations of surveillance to election interference in the past and even unauthorized data access, there are all sorts of infringements on your right to privacy that appear daily.
While there is a lot of information about digital security and privacy out there, it isn’t all good. Get to know some of the most common online privacy myths – and the truth about them below.
Myth: Hackers Will Only Target the Wealthy and VIPs
While high-value targets appeal to hackers, most prefer casting a much wider net and taking advantage of anyone they can find. To understand why you may be a target, you should know that scammers and hackers aren’t always trying to get the largest bank account out there. If they can access a mid-level employee’s files where there are sensitive trade secrets, they can then blackmail the company or even sell the documents to your competition.
They can also infect thousands of users with bots that can be used to harness and then launch DDoS and hold websites for ransom. It is even possible to manipulate social media accounts. They do this to sell fake likes to unscrupulous marketers or give fake social media accounts to a group of friends to make them seem legitimate.
This means anyone is and can be a target. When hackers try to hit as many users as they can, everyone is a target.
Myth: Private or Incognito Mode will Help You Stay Anonymous
Some of the most popular internet browsers offer private browsing mode; however, the level of privacy provided is low. While this is true, these browsers are usually upfront about the limitations and capabilities of the private modes – but who really reads this information?
Put simply, these modes are designed to keep your browser from collecting cookies. This is what sites use to track you. While that is a good start, it isn’t enough if you want to remain anonymous. Websites may still fingerprint users, identify visitors’ IP addresses, and send tracking pixels to their cache.
Myth: If You Use the Private Setting on Facebook, Only Friends Can Access Your Data
Facebook offers a lot of privacy and different security settings. However, they don’t all provide the security you think you are getting. You need to make sure you fully understand these privacy settings’ capabilities since they aren’t all as comprehensive as they may seem at first.
Are You Really Keeping Your Information Private?
As you can see from the myths here, there are many situations where you may think your information is private and protected, but it really isn’t. Be sure you fully understand privacy settings and make sure you work with the professionals when necessary to ensure a higher level of security.