No matter where you go online, there is likely someone watching you or trying to collect information about you. It doesn’t take advanced technical knowledge to keep websites and trackers from collecting your information. Here are eight ways to keep your information safe.
Clear Your Browsing History
Clearing your browsing history alone will not keep websites from tracking you. It’s just one step for covering up your digital footprint. However, when you clear your browsing history many browsers also clear other data like your cookies and browser cache. Many websites use those cookies to determine who you are. Your browser can actually reveal more about you than you might think. Trackers use “fingerprinting”, which means they use your browser version, screen resolution, and operating system to narrow down your identity.
Tor is short for The Onion Router, and it is an “anonymization network”. It helps protect your privacy by directing your internet connection through a number of volunteer-run server endpoints. The websites you visit that are trying to track you will just be able to see the network information for the endpoint you’re connected to. Tor is better than virtual private networks, because the nodes are run by volunteers and can’t be traced back to your VPN provider.
Don’t Accept Random Friend Requests
First of all, your social media profiles should be set to private (if you care about privacy). Secondly, someone who is trying to get into your accounts on the internet may try to collect information from your profiles to get into your accounts. For example, if you use security questions like “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What is your high school mascot?”, someone could easily find that information on your Facebook profile.
Don’t Share Personal Details On The Internet
This is simply common sense, but many people ignore this premise. If you don’t want something to be public, don’t share it on the internet. If you share a photo on social media, people may be able to determine your location and many other bits of information about you. If you post something online, it’s safe to assume that the information could become completely public.
Use a VPN to Encrypt Your Network
Virtual private networks redirect your internet connection through servers away from your local IP address. VPNs have their own privacy issues you should be aware of before you select which VPN you use. It’s important to use a VPN that fully encrypts your internet communications and that doesn’t store logs of your activity.
Read More: 20 VPNs That Are Actually Privacy-Friendly
Minimize The Data You Store “In The Cloud”
When you store files like photos or documents in cloud storage, like Dropbox or Google Drive, you are leaving those files vulnerable to leaks or hacks. For your most sensitive files, you should store them on a physical hard drive, either within your computer or on an external drive. Anything that is connected to the internet is far less secure than something that can’t be accessed remotely.
Don’t Link Your Accounts Together
Many websites may ask you to log in with your Facebook or Google account. We don’t recommend doing this. While it can feel convenient to be able to login with your other accounts, it lets both the website and the account you’re using (Google, Facebook, etc.) track you. Also keep in mind that if you are logged in to a website, it knows exactly who you are, even if you’re using a VPN or other security measures.
Use a Private Search Engine
Private search engines let you find what you’re searching for without tracking every little detail about you. Most private search engines don’t track your search history at all. A private search engine like Ghostpeek keeps Google from using your internet searches to target you with ads. You’ll still be shown ads, but they won’t be creepily related to your searches.
Read More: Best Private Search Engines for 2019