The NSA is not the only organization out there snooping on you. There are many hackers trying to gain access to your online accounts and harvest your personal information. There is no security measure out there that will protect you 100 percent short of hermitage. Nevertheless, there are a few really simple things you can do and precautions you can take to protect your online privacy and deter all but the most determined bad guys.
Always Password Protect Your Devices
The most basic security measure you can undertake is to password protect all your devices. By not protecting your device with a password is the equivalent of leaving your home or car unlocked. Perhaps you will be lucky and no one will take advantage and enter your home or car. Alternatively, someone might enter your home and steal your most valuable items and secrets.
Update your antivirus and malware software
Always keep you antivirus and malware software up to date and remember to run a full scan of your computer from time to time.
Change your password from time to time
From time to time it is recommended that you change your password from time to time. When you do create a password make sure it not a simple password like 123345. Never create and use the same password for all your online accounts. Make use of 1Password to store all your passwords and confidential information which allows you with 1 click to access your online accounts. All you will need to remember is your master password to open 1Password.
Create a Google Alert on your name
Creating a Google alert on your name is a simple way to know what is being said about you online and only takes about a minute or two to set up. Go here: http://www.google.com/alerts and enter your name, and variations of your name, with quotation marks around it.
Remember to sign out of all online accounts when you are done
By signing out of your online accounts will reduce the chances someone tracking while you surf the internet. It will also prevent someone from gaining access of your online account when you step away from your computer. This is especially important if you are using a public computer.
Never give out your email address, phone number, or zip code when requested
Make a judgement call when asked for your email, phone, or zip code. For example, if you at a bar and a sketchy guy comes over and asks for your phone, are you going to willingly hand it over. The same goes when you out shopping at established retail outlets and the cashier asks for your zip code. More often that not, most people freely hand over this information. Retail stores take this information and build a profile about you and what you have purchased.
Encrypt your computer
If you encrypt your computer or device would that an individual would need to have a password or encryption key in order tog win access to your content on your computer or device. On a Mac, you just go to your settings, choose “Security and Privacy,” go to “FileVault,” choose the “Turn on FileVault” option. PC folk need to use Bitlocker.
Turn On 2-step Authentication In Gmail
Make use of 2 step verification to turn your phone into a security fob. If you Gmail it is very simple to turn on 2 step verification. What this means is that if you want to login into your account from a new device, you will need a verification code that is sent to your mobile phone. Without this verification code your account cannot be accessed. This is like having a second layer of protection. Even if someone does get hold of your password, they will still need the security code to access your account from a strange computer.
Use cash when purchasing those embarrassing items
If you don’t want your purchases tracked, simply use cash. If you want people to know how much junk food you are eating, simply choose to pay in cash and avoid that credit card. This is especially true when it comes to those x-rated items or the lingerie you purchase. This will avoid you wife or girlfriend checking your monthly statement and asking why she did not receive the present that month.
Change your Facebook setting to “Friends only”
Change all your Facebook privacy setting to friends only and make sure that the default privacy setting is not set to public. If you use “custom” settings, then make sure you know and are comfortable with any “Networks” you’re sharing with. You can change your “Friends” setting so that people do not have access to the list of your friends.
Clear Your Browser History And Cookies On A Regular Basis
Have you ever cleared your browser history and cookies? Consider changing your browser setting so that when you close your browser all history and cookies will be automatically cleared and deleted. Not all browsers have these automatic options. Firefox enables you to set your privacy settings such that when you close your browser all cookies and browsing history are deleted. You can also set your privacy setting so that you browser never remembers your history. ON some browser you need to do this manually before you close the program.
Hide your online footprint and use An IP Masker
To hide your online footprint, you can download Tor or use an easy browser-based option like HideMyAss.com.