A key problem that arises again and again and is a constant reason to worry is that of privacy. In a world of picture sharing, status updates and the many social networks out there, you're probably asked a few times a week to register for something and give your name, phone number, address, birthday etc. By simply giving your full name and birthday, you're already on thin ice. Provide all of your treasured personal data, you might just get screwed over.
Forbes came out with a non-exhaustive list of measures that you can take to safeguard your privacy in a world where photos of you drinking on Facebook might hinder your chance of getting that dream job or losing a scholarship or some self-respect. Protect your information, protect yourself! Once you are the victim of identity theft, it can take years to get out of that very fickle situation. It may seem tedious, but following simple steps might just save your butt, reputation and wallet. Here are some good tips and our own comments.
1. Protect your device passwords: your smartphone, your iPad, your computer, your tablet etc.
Sometimes, when creating a password, people will write the easiest thing possible, like bananas, 1234 or JimBob1955, for example. These aren't good passwords. You'll often have a good to bad indicator as you create a new password for a website and you should use them. Mix up letters, numbers, symbols that have nothing to do with one another. If you don't, they can be cracked before you say Bob's your uncle!
2. Put a Google Alert on your name.
This was a new one for me! Google Alerts is a content change and notification service offered by Google. It will notify you when content from news, notifications and searches includes certain key words.
3. Sign out of Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc, when you're done emailing, social networking, tweeting.....
When you're using Facebook on your Android device, iPhone, home computer, internet cafe (eeek!), it's very important to always sign out. This may seem trivial to some, but many people will just click on the X and think that they're safe. Wrong!
4. Don't give out your email address, phone number or zip code, even when very politely asked.
This may be something that's difficult to do when signing up for Air miles, Groupon, car rentals etc, but a word to the wise: don't fling this sort of information around. Check to see if the websites are legit (a couple clues: 1) the copyright at the bottom is up-to-date, 2) links aren't broken, 3) you weren't redirected to another website 4) read through terms and conditions). Here at AndroidPIT, when we do an app test review, we also make sure the permissions are in order. If they aren't, we advise users not to install. This also goes for strangers you don't know that you meet face-to-face.
5. Encrypt your Android device.
This basically means that you safeguard your computer by adding a password that needs to be typed in before being able to access its contents. You can also encrypt all the data on your mobile phone. Every time you turn on your phone, you'll be asked to provide a password. The only problem here is forgetting your PIN. If this happens, you'll have to perform a factory data reset! Google Support gives great instructions on how to encrypt your Android.
6. Turn on the 2-step verification in Gmail.
Again, Google Support gives you the quick run-through of how this is done. In addition to your username and password, it will ask you to enter a code that Google will then send to you via text, voice call or on the mobile app. Now someone will have a harder time accessing your information from another device or computer. They would have to have your phone too!
7. If you're going to buy something taboo or scandalous, pay cash.
Don't worry, we all have skeletons in the closet. Some maybe more than others. If you buy something online, it can be tracked and come back to haunt you. So if you plan on buying that certain enlarger online, maybe think twice about it.
8. Change your privacy on Facebook to ''Friends only''.
A Simple task to do and I think most do it already! This way not even the friends of your friends will be able to see what you've been up to. If you chose ''friends only'', no one can look you up either.
9. Clear your browser history and cookies often.
Again, got some bad habits that you don't anyone to know about? Or maybe you're hiding that surprise get-away holiday for your honey's birthday. Clearing the browser and cookies might save you from future fights or let-downs. This will also reduce the amount that you're being tracked online. On Android, you simply go under to your internet browser, then history and click on the soft menu. It will give you the option to delete browser history. You can even go another step and open a new window in incognito.
10. Hide your IP.
When you're scoping other people's blogs and you don't want them to know, you can hide the fact that you were ever there. There are two websites for this: Tor and HideMyAss.com. So every time you go to a website, you won't leave your IP address behind, which could provide your location and service provider.
These are some easy, yet crucial steps that you should take in order to safeguard your privacy. When you get hacked, embezzled, scammed and used, it's not a pretty thing. Do you know of any other ways to protect your privacy?