Own Your Online Presence: Tips to Increase Your Privacy and Clean Up the Data You Leave Behind

Aug 12, 2014 6:31am

Whether you are surfing the web, shopping online for a gift item, chatting on Facebook, emailing your business partners or viewing last year’s holiday photos, your operating system, browsers and third­-party applications take note of your activities. They do this ­­- often without your knowledge or consent - ­­in the form of browsing, search, download and applications history and through cookies, cache, login credentials, databases and more. 

While most of those tracks are meant to help websites and applications offer you personalized content and fast performance, they inevitably pose some privacy concerns, as unauthorized parties could use them to track your activities and access your personal information. 

When it comes to tightening your Internet and computer privacy security, one crucial step you can take is to learn more about how your online activities leave confidential traces behind on your hard drive. In addition to helping protect your information, clearing traces from sensitive areas of your devices helps improve the devices’ speed and frees up space by removing clutter in the process. For more information about the most common places these traces can be found and how to remove them, visit East-Tec.

To take a proactive approach to your online privacy and security, you can also follow these steps from STOP. THINK. CONNECT., the national cybersecurity awareness campaign: 

  • Secure your accounts: Passwords are no longer the only protection from would-be hackers. Enable multi-factor authentication to add another layer of security. Information on how this feature works and how to enable it is available on the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. website.
  • Make passwords long, strong and unique: Passwords should be different for every account, have as many characters as allowed and include numbers, symbols and both capital and lowercase letters.
  • Think before you app: Before downloading a mobile app, understand what information (your location, access to social networks, etc.) the app accesses in order to function, and determine whether you are comfortable sharing this information with the app before you download it.
  • Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing; it’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

About the AuthorAdam Csorghe is a communications manager and a customer advisor at East­-Tec, a privacy software developer company.