Online Privacy Tips

10 Quick Privacy Tips:

1) Limit Personal Information You Share

When signing up for a new online service or account, you may be asked to provide a long list of personal information.  Often, only a few pieces of information are required to complete your registration (often noted with an asterisk*). If you don’t trust the website with all of your information, only enter the required information.

Application with asterisk

 

 2) Keep Your Browser Updated

Browsers constantly update privacy features. Browser privacy features can protect you from entering a fraudulent website, block third parties from tracking your data, and encrypt sensitive web pages. Make sure you are using the latest version of your browser, and that you are taking advantage of the privacy features. To learn about privacy features with different browsers and operating systems click on the links below:

Internet Explorer / Microsoft

Firefox / Mozilla

Chrome / Google

Safari / Apple

3) Use Caution When Opening Emails

Do not click on attachments or provide personal information with respect to emails sent by businesses or people you do not know. They may ask for your financial information (such as asking you to verify your bank account), or the email may contain a bug that can harvest your personal information.

4) Verify Web Security

If you aren’t sure about a website, verify its authenticity. Companies like TRUSTe make seals that provide consumers with assurance that a business is legitimate and can be trusted. Browser add-ons like Web of Trust also detect and warn you about scams and online fraud. Make sure that the website has contact information, and verify the company on the Better Business Bureau website.

5) Examine Privacy Policies

A privacy policy will tell you if the website shares your information, and who they share your information with. Especially if you are sharing sensitive information, always read the fine print. Websites like Facebook have extensive privacy options, including the ability to hide photos and other personal information. Privacy policies will usually tell you how to adjust your privacy settings on the website.

6) Update Your Anti-Virus Program Regularly

Anti-virus companies update software regularly to ensure the product protects against the newest viruses. Make sure you are protected by updating the anti-virus program regularly. Companies like AVG make free antivirus products for PCs, Macs, mobile devices, and tablet computers.

7) Clear your Cookies Regularly

Cookies are small files that are designed to store your information. This allows web pages to remember your online information and tailor a page to a particular user. While cookies can be useful, they can also track information for unwanted uses. For example, if you frequently look up a particular flight online, you may receive a different price than someone who looks up the flight for the first time. Browser add-ons such as Self-Destructing Cookies allows you to maintain useful cookies while eliminating undesirable cookies.

8) Use HTTPS Whenever Possible

HTTPS prevents others from snooping on your wireless internet connection. Especially when using unsecured wireless networks, look for a lock icon next to the URL indicating HTTPS. The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a free add-on called HTTPS Everywhere that encrypts major websites to enhance your online security.

9) Add Browser “Add-Ons” to Enhance Privacy & Your Experience on the Web

Add-ons can protect you from a range of security and privacy issues online. To browse top-rated and popular add-ons click here. AbBlocker is an example of an add-on that can protect your privacy and enhance your experience on the web.  AdBlocker blocks banners, pop-ups and video ads (even on Facebook and YouTube). Click on the following link to download AdBlocker for the operating system that you use: Safari Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer Android Opera

10) Opt out of Ad Customization

 

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Facebook, Yahoo!, and other companies allow you to keep your browsing history private from advertisers by “opting-out.” To opt-out click here and follow the directions below:

  1. Check off the boxes under “Companies Customizing Ads For Your Browser” and click “Submit Your Choices.”
  2. You should receive a confirmation on your screen, and you should see Facebook and other companies you selected under the “Existing Opt Outs” tab.  If your computer displays a “Cookies Not Enabled” message, follow the directions below:
  • If you have a Mac, click ‘Safari’, then click ‘Preferences’.
  • Next, click Privacy and Select ‘Never’ Block Cookies.  You will now be able to opt-out. Be sure to return your settings to Block ‘Third Parties and Advertisers’ when you are done.

 

 

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