We are always talking about the dangers that our data often faces in the Internet. Constant leaks and vulnerabilities in the services we use the most seem inevitable. Even platforms and applications we consider harmless suspiciously gather information on their users that do not seem to be closely related to their activity.
There are plenty of warnings, but we are not often told what we should do to keep our data out of the hands of third parties and safe from illicit uses or for which we have not granted our permission. Are we unprotected? We give you a few tips so that you no longer feel completely defenseless.
10 tips for protecting your privacy
Go on a diet and forget about cookies
These tools, which have installed themselves in our virtual life, gather a lot of data about our habits (searches and pages visited) that is often used to design custom advertising. You can avoid them by using browsers in ‘incognito’ or ‘private’ mode. Another option is to regularly clear your browsing history and cookies.
Use a virtual private network
A Virtual Private Network, more commonly known as a VPN, allows you to browse the Internet securely, even when you are connected to a public network. Although they are often associated to being used to hide illegal activities, there is nothing bad about them. On the contrary, it is highly advisable to use them when you do not have a secure connection.
It does not matter where you took that picture
Sharing the selfie you have just taken on social networks could reveal a lot of data about the device you used and where you are. Perhaps the phone model or camera specifications are not very important but it is a good idea to change the settings so that the exact coordinates of you location do not appear. Here you have how to disable the GPS to the mobile phone camera.
Log out occasionally
Everyone finds it difficult to remember their password. It is much more convenient and easier to stay logged on to Facebook or Gmail so that you can access them by simply clicking the icon. However, remember that doing this allows these platforms to follow you around the Internet.
Keep your virtual profiles clear
As happens with pictures, when you update your status in Facebook or send a tweet, you could be giving out your location. Even what you say and when you say it could be analyzed by these platforms.
Create an alert in Google with your name
Have you ever googled your first name and last name? You probably haven’t found anything strange, but it is recommended to create an alert in the search engine to stay informed about any changes. If a page is talking about you, the browser will send you an email to let you know.
Have various email accounts
If, in real life, you do not go to the bank to carry out a financial transaction with the same attitude as when going to a concert, you should do the same in the Internet. Keep important things separate from leisure and hobbies. Open various email accounts to separate work and family issues from your hobbies or Internet shopping. This will prevent all of them from being flooded with spam and a potential intruder will not be able to access all of the information at the same time.
Encrypt documents before saving them to the cloud
It cannot be denied that storing all types of files in Dropbox or Google Drive has its advantages: you have them all in one place, they do not take up space on your computer and you can access them from any device. However, it also has its dangers. Those responsible for these services could analyze your files and it is not too difficult for cyber-criminals to get a look at them either. The best way of avoiding problems is to encrypt them before saving them on these platforms.
Nothing is free
Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are free services, like email services. Don’t be fooled. If they are not charging you it is because they are making money in another way, often related to your personal data. They collect information about your preferences and habits in order to give it to other companies. Paying for premium versions or more expensive platforms can often have its advantages, even if these are not financial.
Keep your computer security updated
To finish, we give you a tip that could sound very obvious but that we often neglect: keep your antivirus software updated and check the security status of your computer. There is lot of spyware around and any barrier is useful for preventing it from attacking your computer without you realizing.
With these simple tips you can save yourself a few upsets. Data leaks, attacks and spoofing are often due to the owners of the information not taking enough precautions. Don’t do the same!