How to Keep Your Online Activity and Identity Private
Today, your continuously connected lives are leaving behind a trail of data from your electronic devices. From the apps on your smartphones, your browser history on your computer, to the data on your fitness tracking device- anything that is connected to the Internet is storing information.
What Information is Okay to Share Online?
While all this abundance of information sharing may seem alarming, there are good reasons for it. It’s very natural to hit the “accept” popup when your device asks for allowing Cookies, location services, or to access other features of your device to be used by certain Apps or programs. We often do this without thinking of the privacy ramifications. Companies actually need to track certain information in order for their products to work. Therefore, these technologies help facilitate GPS directions, localized search results to find a nearby restaurant, and help improve the targeting of ads.
Remember- you are in control of what information you share abut yourself online. Research privacy policies and block access to suspicious requests from Apps or programs. If you have social media accounts, be sure to check those privacy settings too.
Risks to Privacy with Connected Devices
The downside to this information sharing is that there are also ways in which your privacy can be compromised, illegally or unintentionally. Unfortunately, some companies do not think of security first and focus on the functionality of their product primarily. With the emerging Internet of Things, most of the new gadgets we bring into our homes now have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi. This means Internet connected devices such as streaming security cameras, light bulbs, thermostats and smart home products all have computers in them that store data. Most all of these technologies have security issues, such as default passwords left unchanged once installed, to unsecured routers protecting these devices. As a result, cybercriminals with nefarious intent can bypass the poor security included in these devices. The key to protecting your privacy is learning how to properly setup and secure all of your connected devices.
Software Terms of Service and Privacy Policies Explained
If you’re like most people, you don’t read the Terms of Service when you get a new app or buy a new device. That’s a big mistake, because a lot of apps on the market that are less-than-ideal, known as “grayware,” count on you allowing them access to your information.