We’ve all heard the horror stories of people having their identity stolen — or worse — thanks to the information that we share online. And even if nothing illegal happens, do you really want your personal information out there for all the world to see? While incriminating content might not seem like such a big deal now, what happens in a few years when you can’t get a job or secure a loan because of your online reputation?
In other words, the world of online privacy is a minefield — and one that’s growing even more difficult to navigate every day. But there are some things that you can do to minimise the amount of personal data that you’re sharing online. Here’s our top five privacy-boosting tips:
Share less online
While this might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, you’d be amazed at how little most of us think about what we share online. From family photos posted to public social media pages to the personal information dished out willingly to data-phishing scams, we’re all guilty of oversharing. But one of the most effective ways to increase your privacy online is to completely overhaul your approach — and think twice before posting anything personal to the web.
Check your privacy settings
The next step is a simple one too. But again, it’s one that many people overlook. If you want to protect your data online, take a long hard look at the privacy settings in each of your accounts. Generally speaking, the default settings will be ones that allow companies to access your data — and sell it on for a profit. But in most cases, it should be simple to turn off things like location tracking and switch your profile to private.
Use a no-log VPN
As you might know already, a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a service that protects your privacy online by encrypting your data and concealing your IP address. But some of the most popular providers ask you to open an account, which means sharing your personal information — somewhat defying the point of a VPN. A no-log VPN, however, doesn’t keep any of its users’ personal details on file, ensuring that your private information remains private.
Check your VPN is secure
Not all VPNs are made equal, though, and it’s important to check that yours is secure and free from ‘leaks.’ Typically, these occur when the VPN temporarily fails, exposing your personal data to outside sources. There are several reasons why this might happen, but luckily it’s relatively quick and simple to check your VPN for leaks using tools such as ipleak.net or Perfect Privacy IP Check.
Explore Tor and TAILS
As online privacy becomes an ever-more complex issue, you can always rely on open source programmers to come up with an innovative solution. For privacy-primed internet browsing, The Onion Router, or Tor, allows users to communicate anonymously by routing internet traffic through a network of servers. For the full package, you can also check out The Amnesic Incognito Live System, or TAILS — an operating system that works alongside Tor to provide total online security.
Of course, most of these actions can only protect your online privacy going forward. But that doesn’t mean that your previous online activity is out there to stay. If you’re concerned about the impact of damaging content online, speak to the team at Reputation.Online today.