10 Great Tips to Reboot Your Privacy Online

October 3, 2022

For Cyber Security Awareness Month we’re offering some great tips on how to reboot your privacy online.

Online Purchases

  • Stop using your real email and phone online; most browsers now have “hide my email” functionality built in.
  • Use Apple Pay or Google Pay (free) whenever possible. If not, use a credit card masking tool.
  • Research a company before you buy from it by googling its name or check out its profile on bbb.org to make sure it’s not a scam.

Read More: Does Amazon Sell Your Personal Information?

Email Safety

  • Click on nothing. If your bank emails you something that seems important, call the number on your credit card or go directly to their site and log in securely.
  • Read the “from” address carefully.
  • If it seems too good to be true, or too scary to be real, it isn’t.

More Tips to Keeping your Privacy Online: How to Avoid Phishing Scams

Password Safety

  • Always use strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor (2FA) authentication whenever possible.
  • Use a reputable password manager to automatically create unique passwords and periodically update them.
  • Don’t save your passwords in browsers.
  • Don’t share your passwords with friends or family.

Social Media

  • Treat everything on social media as public domain. Don’t fill in the “about me” section and ensure your profiles are private.
  • Never share personal information, even if it seems innocent, like the vacations you may be going on or your favorite hobbies.
  • Social media quizzes are sponsored by data brokers; don’t take them.
  • When you’re done browsing, log out.
  • Turn off interest-based ads from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Apple.

More Tips to Keeping your Privacy Online: Best Practices for Securing Social Media.

Smartphone Safety

  • Do not download any apps from third-party app stores.
  • Keep your phone password-protected with strong, unique passwords.
  • Keep your software updated to avoid known security exploits.
  • Encrypt your device data and sensitive information.
  • Delete any apps you don’t use and use a browser version of an app whenever possible.

More Tips to Keeping your Privacy Online: Best Practices for Mobile Device Security.

Browsing

  • Keep yourself off Google by removing your data from the growing list of data brokers who sell your information and do it often.
  • Use a privacy-focused search engine.
  • Use browser extensions to prevent data collection and malware
  • and block trackers.
  • Make sure the sites you visit are secure (they should begin with “https” and have a lock icon beside the URL).

Read More: What You Need to Know About Google’s New Search Removal Policy.

Smart Devices

  • Buy your smart devices from big-name manufacturers.
  • Check the permissions you’ve automatically granted your smart devices when you first installed them.
  • Change default settings and passwords and turn on two-factor authentication.
  • Update smart devices regularly.
  • Keep your smart devices on a separate network from other devices, like laptops and smartphones (that way, if a hacker compromises your smart device, they won’t also gain access to your primary devices).

Wearable Tech

  • Read the user agreement to figure out what data your wearable tech collects about you.
  • Change the default privacy settings on the wearable plus the associated app or website account. Turn off location tracking.
  • Lock your wearable with a password to protect your data.
  • Run the latest updates as soon as they become available.
  • Delete personal data from old devices before you get rid of them.

Robocalls and Spam Calls

  • Use your carrier’s call-blocking tools. Download a call-blocking app. Use your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature to have calls that come in during specific hours go to voicemail. Remember that just because a call looks like it’s
  • coming from a local number, that doesn’t mean that it is.
  • Don’t respond to questions with affirmatives. If you get a call from a company or a government agency you weren’t expecting, hang up and ring them back using a number you find on their official website.
  • Don’t respond to requests to press a specific button after you answer a call.
  • Don’t share personal information.

More Tips to Keeping your Privacy Online: How to Stop Spam Calls, Robocalls & Telemarketers

Computer Safety

  • Use a camera cover anytime you are not using the camera.
  • Always lock your computer when not using it, and never use a photo of yourself as your lock screen image.
  • Use a privacy filter when in public so only you can see your screen.
  • Enable find my device and remote wipe features.
  • Keep your operating system, antivirus, and other software updated.

Read More: 10 Ways to Reboot your Privacy at Work.

While it can feel overwhelming to keep your personal privacy in check, we hope that these tips help you feel like you can take some control over your privacy online.

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