1. Go on a diet and forget about cookies
These tools which have installed themselves in our virtual lives, gather data about our habits (searches and pages visited) which is often used to design custom advertising. You can avoid them by using browsers in ‘incognito’ or ‘private’ mode. Other options include regularly clearing your browsing history and cookies or accepting an opt-out cookie which blocks future cookies from being installed on your browser by a particular website or advertiser. It essentially lets you declare that you do not wish to participate in targeted ad delivery, profiling or otherwise have your web browsing tracked. An opt-out cookie will only block cookies from a particular server and is not a generic tool to block cookies from any site you visit. However, you can manage cookies via your browser settings.
2. 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 with 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.
3. 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 your location do not appear. Here you have to disable the GPS settings on the mobile phone camera.
4. Log out occasionally
Everyone finds it difficult to remember their password. It is much more convenient 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 track your usage and data.
5. Keep your virtual profiles clear
When you update your status in Facebook or send a tweet, you could be giving out your location. Once again disable the GPS settings on these platforms to avoid tracking.
6. 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.
7. Have various email accounts
Keep important things separate from leisure and hobbies. Open various email accounts to separate work and family issues from your hobbies or online pofiles. This will prevent being flooded with spam and a potential intruder will not be able to access all of the information at the same time.
8. 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 analyse 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.
9. 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 versions can often have it’s advantages.
10. Keep your computer security updated
Keep your antivirus software updated and check the security status of your computer. There are many threats around and any form of protection is better than none. Updates often include patch management, fixing bugs that were found in previous versions.