Ways to Protect Your Family’s Privacy Online
The technology at work in our world today is nothing short of miraculous, bringing people and resources within reach no matter where on the planet you may find yourself.
But there’s a price to be paid for maintaining this worldwide access and that’s protecting yourself against bad actors who would use the freedom of the Internet, cloud storage and smartphone apps to infiltrate your device and potentially empty your bank account.
Don’t be a statistic – protect your identityBeing hacked and having your identity stolen happens with disturbing frequency – 1 in 10 Americans has been directly affected by identity theft, on average about 9 million people experience this every year. And it’s not just people who don’t know technology that well, either. Active social media users are 30 percent more at risk than those who aren’t posting. More telling still is the ultimate digital generation – Millennials – make up a third of identity theft victims every year.
And it’s not just criminals! Pop up advertising is not only annoying, but it gives companies a way to track your behavior online, information that can be sold to other companies who want to sell you something. If you’ve ever read an article on something and then were surprised at how many ads or posts are pushed to your device selling a related product or service, you know what we’re talking about.
Choose the right privacy settings for your computerAll of this intrusion isn’t happening because outside influences (including criminals) are necessarily outsmarting the average consumer. The truth is, people make it easy by not following even the most basic safe habits online or using the tools that are provided for this very purpose.
Take privacy settings, for example. Every platform has them, but many people either don’t know about them or don’t bother to set them up. Yet this is a great first step in keeping undesirable audiences away from the information they can use to infiltrate your digital world.
Always look into privacy settings and select the one that’s right for you in order to stay in control of your data. This is one of the most basic, yet surprisingly effective, ways to guard yourself against prying eyes. Facebook, Google and other big tech companies offer an array of options for opting out of some, if not all, of their personalization and tracking.
You can also change the DNT (do not track) setting for major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and others. This keeps websites and third-party partners from tracking your activity online.
Check app permissions for your smartphoneYou should demonstrate similar care in protecting yourself from intrusion via your smartphone. When most people seek out a new app, or instance, they download it without looking into the privacy settings or reading the fine print, thus giving the app permission to create a window onto all kinds of things you probably didn’t bargain for, not to mention acting as a Trojan horse for bad actors.
Instead, experts recommend upon installing an app, keep a check on the permissions that you’re giving to that application. App Permissions is a section in your phone's settings that lets you determine what the app is allowed to use or do on a smartphone and you can deny permission to anything you don’t want to be broadcast to unseen audiences, such as your location.