Keeping Your Private Info Save in the Digital Age
One of the unfortunate realities a person faces is the near or total loss of privacy in the online world. In the earliest days, concepts like MySpace and Facebook were seemingly benign. Just fun social networks to get to know people in a faster, convenient environment.
Today? We’re spread across the internet and our digital footprint is everywhere. In some ways, we’ve done this willingly through the aforementioned social platforms. In other ways, we didn’t have a choice. Visiting a website, for instance, loaded our browser with a tracker. A tracker is a type of software designed to track your activity on the website, monitor behavior, and see where you go once you leave the website.
Understanding the tracker
Does that sound odd? It would be like visiting your favorite restaurant, only to be monitored every step of the way until you exit the building.
On paper, trackers and concepts like them are benign, simply used as a metric for companies to measure client engagement. In other words, they want to see if their advertising methods are effective and understand your decision making process to more efficiently fine tune their approach and make that big sale. It’s such an honest sounding concept, isn’t it? But, if the world were perfect, this wouldn’t be an issue.
Today, loss of privacy is more common and it’s not odd for you to imagine your personal information is stored somewhere, without your consent. Or, maybe you’re now realizing the idea of someone or something having all your personal info is an uncomfortable concept. Maybe you don’t want search engines compiling every little thing you do to tailor an “algorithm” you had no consent to.
Fixes and ways to protect your privacy
This, and scenarios like it, are all too commonplace, and it’s getting harder to maintain a sense of true privacy. While you can certainly shield yourself from identity theft, what about the businesses, endless websites, and companies who have partitions of your info? Well, if the thought makes you uncomfortable, we have a few strategies to reduce your “digital footprint” and get a sense of security back:
- VPN – A virtual private network is one of the most definitive ways to shield your online data. When browsing, all your info is encrypted and rendered unusable by website trackers. Some services are free but most require an inexpensive subscription. Good for businesses too.
- Reduce Social Media Presence – Though companies like Facebook will still have your information, reducing what you put online is a big part of personal security. Be choosy with images, limit info like where you work/live, and limit who can actually see your profile.
- Cash, not Card – Here’s a fun fact: some card companies will sell your data and purchase data to third parties. To avoid having your purchase info looked over by a pack of invisible vultures, try to pay with cash as often as possible.
- 2FA – Two-factor authentication will play a vital role in protecting your accounts and data. It’s not just companies who take info, malicious third parties are just as likely to go after it.
- False Info for Security Questions – You know those fancy security questions you get for password recovery? Turns out it’s best not to use real info. With that pesky social media presence, hackers can sniff out personal details to use against you. What’s your hometown? Try Death Valley.
It’s difficult clinging to aspects of privacy in the modern age. Digital information moves so fast, it’s hard to keep up, and it doesn’t help that methods are constantly being developed to parse through how you “think” online, legal or otherwise.
Hopefully, some of our ideas give you the tools to protect yourself and further secure your sensitive information. If you want to learn about additional methods, you can contact us at Bytagig.