Protection in the Digital Age: 8 Tips to Ensure Your Online Privacy
Frank Abagnale Jr. is perhaps the most famous con man in the world. All before the age 21, he pocketed over $2 million in forged checks while successfully impersonating a pilot, doctor and lawyer before he was finally taken into custody.
The year was 1969.
Fast forward to 2011.
I was a freshman at Colorado State University. Frank Abagnale, the inspiration for the 2002 Steven Spielberg film Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the famous imposter, was a keynote speaker at the university’s annual Business Day. He shared remarkable story after story about his life. Everything you could possibly wish to know about his early years of crime and his more than 30 years working in the FBI as the foremost authority on fraud.
One thing he said endures with me to this day: we are living in a scary age … the Internet is making crimes like these terrifyingly effortless and accessible.
But don’t worry! There are a number of different measures you can take to protect your privacy on the Internet. Here are a few we recommend:
Change Your Passwords Once a Month
Change your passwords! This is the easiest and most effective way to protect yourself online. If you believe this practice is a nuisance — or just forget to do it — there are some sweet services to help you out. 1Password and LastPass are easy and secure and they keep your online information safe.
Beware of Open Wi-Fi Hotspots
Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient and awesome, but they also can be dangerous. These hotspots usually have no encryption, meaning that someone near your location can capture the data you transmit online, such as passwords, bank info and emails. Be safe and think twice before jumping online via a hotspot.
Use Anonymous Online Browsing
Tor is an excellent resource for anonymous browsing. It keeps you safe from Internet surveillance and traffic analysis and makes it virtually impossible for anyone to track your online activity. While it can’t solve every single anonymity problem online, it is a viable way to protect your privacy.
Keep Your Social Networks Private
If you don’t want potential hackers and nay-doers snooping on your social media presence, change your settings on your social media accounts so only your friends can see what you’re up to.
Avoid Online Tracking With Browser Plug-Ins
Fly under the radar by adding a browser plug-in. Ghostery is a free download that allows you to see the number of trackers detected along your online journey and gives you the option to block any or all.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a dependable method to lock down your online accounts. It means that when you log in, you’ll also need to enter a special code that the site texts to your phone. Some services require it each time you log in, others when you use a new device or web browser. You can find this authentication on Facebook, Google, Gmail, Apple ID, Dropbox, Microsoft and Twitter, among others.
Some feel it’s too time-consuming, but it’s a proven method that helps keep others from accessing your accounts. If you want the protection, it’s worth it.
Put A Google Alert On Your Name
Google Alerts aren’t just for monitoring the web for content that you find interesting. You can create an alert for yourself by typing in your name and any time your name is mentioned, you receive an alert and always know what’s said about you or any unauthorized activity involved with your name online. It’s a great tool to protect against hackers!
Encrypt Your Hard Drive
If you have valuable information on your hard drive or use an external option, it’s important to encrypt it. If your computer is ever lost or stolen, it protects all of your precious information and what’s more, you don’t have to be a techie to do it. Symantec’s Endpoint Encryption is a reliable, low-cost option to add some extra protection.
What other measures do you take to keep your privacy safe?
Don’t forget to keep your device safe as well with your favorite OtterBox case!