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9 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Privacy

Privacy is a big issue.  There are tons of horror stories that could be inserted here to demonstrate how dangerously easy it is for some bad guy to access your information, but we’re going to just skip that part for now.  We all know that we should protect ourselves, but how?

1. Password protect your devices.

People complain about it taking to long to type in a password before they can use their phone, iPad, computer, etc.  But seriously.  Not using a password is just leaving yourself open and vulnerable.  It’s like leaving your house or car unlocked.  If you believe in the good of humanity, you may not mind that someone could access your personal information.  If that’s the case, you might need to be a little more paranoid.  Here’s a little fuel for your paranoia.

2. Put a Google Alert on your name.

See what people are saying about you.  It’s super easy to set up and it only takes about a minute.  Enter your name and other variations of your name with quotations around them.  That’s it.  That’s the only thing you do.  Then it will email you however frequently you choose to receive the emails with mentions of wherever your name shows up online.  Go here to set up a Google Alert now.

3. Sign out when you’re done with your accounts.

Get in the habbit of signing out of Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and other accounts when you’re done using them, especially if you share a computer with someone else.  This will also help minimize the amount sites track you as you surf the web.

 4. Don’t give out your personal information.

If a creepy guy walks up to you on the street and asks for your number, you say no.  But when an employee of a store asks for your email address, phone number or zip code, you feel more comfortable right?  Well, you should still say no.  They may not just be using that information to see where their customers are coming from.

5. Encrypt your computer.

This one’s not overly simple but it’s still a good idea to do in case someone gets access to your hard drive.  You can follow the directions to use a Bitlocker to encrypt your computer.

6. Gmailers, use 2-step authentication.

2-step varification turns your phone into a security fob.  In order to access your account from a new device, you need to enter a code that’s sent to your phone.  That means that even if someone gets your password somehow, they can’t sign in to your account from a strange computer.

7. Pay in cash for embarrassing items.

Purchases can pretty easily be tracked back to you.  Check out this article from Forbes about this “Data Mining CEO [who] Says He Pays For Burgers With Cash To Avoid Junk Food Purchases Being Tracked.”

8. Change your Facebook settings to “Friends”.

Facebook just went through and updated their security junk because they’ve been getting a lot of flack about how poor their security is.  There’s now a little security icon in the upper right corner next to the “Home” button.  Click on that and it will walk you through your settings.  Then you can also like the Facebook Security page to get more updates.

9. Clear your browser history and cookies on a regular basis.

When was the last time you did that?  If you just thought “I’ve never done that” or “I have no idea”, it might be time to get into the habit of clearing.  Or, you can set your browser settings o that they automatically clear after every session.  However, sometimes I like the cookies that some websites use.  You know, the ones that suggest other products you may like, etc.  So just keep in mind that some of the functionality may be reduced if you set your browser settings to clear automatically.

So there you go, 9 tips to get you started on protecting your privacy.  Of course, you should always check with your network administrator to ensure that these suggestions are appropriate for your work environment.  To review the original article from Forbes “10 Incredibly Simple Things You Should Be Doing To Protect Your Privacy,” click here.

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