One of the rarest commodities nowadays is privacy. If you search with your name on Pipl.com, you will be rather alarmed to know the large number of companies which claim to have all sorts of information on your income, family, address, phone number and many other aspects of your life. This is due to the fact that your personal details which may include your phone number, SS number, email address is worth lot of money to both the bad guys in the country and legal businesses. While the former has aspirations of stealing from you, the latter wants to know as much as is possible about you so that they can sell their services and products to you.
So, if you think you’ve got nothing to hide, give it a second thought. Privacy is something which creates a difference between humans and animals. It sets our countries apart from despots and dictatorships. Surveillance is an increasing part of our lives and it is gradually getting more and more invasive. Eavesdropping from the part of the government is also being carried out in wide secrecy. So, we see that no matter where you are and who you are, there are lots of things that you can do to check up your data privacy settings to be safe online.
- Data encryption is recommended
Data encryption is not just for tech geeks but also for laymen. With the help of modern tools, data encryption in the form of encrypt emails is possible for almost everyone. GPG for Mail is an open-source plug-in which makes it easy to decrypt, encrypt, verify and sign emails utilising the Open PGP standard. Those who run Microsoft Windows can also have a similar program through which they can scramble their data but this doesn’t safeguard you from federal authorities.
- Filling out everything in social media is strictly prohibited
The more detailed information you share on the social media, the easier it gets for someone to start stalking you. Don’t ever make the mistake of cooperating with such stalkers. Take a close look at your Facebook and Twitter profiles and try your best to maintain a barren profile which would be of no help to such evil stalkers. Ultimately, there’s no point in sharing every single thing about yourself on your Facebook profile.
- Sharing your Social Security number is never advisable, not even the last 4 numbers
Before sharing your Social Security number, think twice. Unless it is your credit bureau or your bank, make sure a company which claims to have your background information to report to the Internal Revenue Service is genuine. If some crook gets his hands on information like your address or birth date, they can easily steal your identity and take out cards on your name and start incurring debt. Identity theft experts always ask people not to even share the last 4 digits of your Social Security number unless it’s extremely necessary.
- Your hardware should be locked
One more important thing to do is to set your PC with a password whenever it sleeps or restarts. No, you may think that it is fine to trust your family members but what if your laptop gets stolen? The same is even true with all sorts of mobile devices. Make sure you use a password to access them every time they want to use. Also install an app which will locate your tablet or phone if it’s stolen and also wipe off all important data so that a stranger could never use your phone. Also have anti-malware software and apps which prevents virus from entering your phone.
- Turning on private browsing is a ‘must’
Are you someone who doesn’t want anyone else with physical access to your PC to check out where else you’re browsing online? If answered yes, you should activate ‘private browsing’ which is available in all of the major browsers. It deletes temporary internet files, cookies and also the browsing history once you close the window. All companies which advertise online is interested in knowing the sites which you visit, what you wish to buy, who your friends are on social networking websites and so on. By getting all this information, they can send you targeted ads which can increase the likelihood of you buying things.
- Set up a Google Alert with your name
This is one of the easiest ways of keeping a close watch on anything which people might be writing or speaking about you online. It is a matter where you order Google to look for things and also the web pages to search, the web pages to search and the search engine will use all these details to send you notifications. Setting up Google Alert can help in this way.
So, with the soaring number of shady companies and crooks in the nation, it is a necessity that you check up your data privacy settings in order to stay safe and secured online. Follow the above mentioned steps to prep up your privacy settings.