Tips For Protecting Your Online Privacy

We live in a world where we are constantly and selectively revealing information about ourselves.  Every geotag, Facebook face tag, check-in, and status update leaves behind our digital footprint.

Someone with very basic internet knowledge and criminal intentions could put a few pieces of information together about you based on your tag locations, name, associated friends, and easily locate you.

As with anything in life, living in a state of fear does us no good.  The internet doesn’t have to be a dark and scary place where we fear lurkers tracking our whereabouts.  You can still enjoy the freedom and self-expression of the internet with just a few simple precautions.

Make Your Facebook Posts Visible To Friends Only

Whether you’re a Facebook rookie, or you’ve been there since the early days when it was only available to college students, there’s no way be sure you’re up to date on their privacy rules.

The 300 billion dollar net worth social media platform is in a constant state of reinvention and has updated their privacy statement multiple times.

One of the most important things you can do to protect your privacy is pay attention to the little globe symbol.  By default, Facebook makes your posts public, and therefore displays a globe icon next to your status update or image post.  Meaning quite literally that your post is global.

Don’t want your prospective employer to know you drank too much tequila last night and woke up with Sharpie on your face?  Or perhaps you simply don’t need your ex boyfriend to know you’re engaged to his brother yet. All it takes is a simple visit to settings at the top of your page, and opt for your posts being viewable by your friends only.

Choose a Strong Password

When choosing a strong password, experts recommend using 12 characters, uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

Choose a password that you will remember easily.  Perhaps not something as simple as the name of your dog, or your name, but maybe your favorite movie and the birth year of your favorite singer.

For added security change your password every 3-6 months.

This includes your wifi password for your home connection.  Just say NO to open connections.  Otherwise, you might as well leave your front door open with a sign that says “Come on in! I’ve got a fire going!”

Use a Virtual Private Network

A virtual private network, commonly known as a VPN, is essentially an invisibility cloak if you want to get all Harry Potter about it.

VPN’s, which mask your IP address for another, are handy for maintaining your anonymity, whether it be for downloading or simply browsing.

Although VPN’s are starting to see more websites that forbid their use due to streaming regulations.  Many people use a VPN to appear as if they are in the USA when in fact they are in another country where copyright licenses are being infringed.

Anna Johansson
Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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