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Policing your data: 10 tips to improve your Internet privacy

Don’t use online services that are meant for sharing information to store your private data.

Massive data breaches, marketers tracking your every step online, shady people exploring the photos you shared in social networks – the list of digital annoyances goes on and on. However, you do have control over your data. Sudhir Chowdhary lists 10 tips (recommended by IT security firm Kaspersky) to improve your internet privacy.

Check social privacy settings

If you have social accounts, those networks have a lot of information about you, and much of it is visible to anybody on the Internet by default. That’s why we recommend you check your privacy settings, decide what information you want to share with complete strangers versus your friends. In short, change your social network account privacy settings.

Don’t use public storages for private information

Don’t use online services that are meant for sharing information to store your private data. For example, Google Docs isn’t an ideal place to store a list of passwords, and Dropbox is not the best venue for your passport scans unless they are kept in an encrypted archive.

Evade tracking

When you visit a website, your browser discloses a bunch of stuff about you and your surfing history. Incognito mode can’t really prevent such tracking. The solution: Use private browsing in Kaspersky Internet Security to avoid Internet tracking. Also, learn more about tools that can protect you from web tracking.

Keep your main e-mail address and phone number private

Your reward for sharing your e-mail address and phone number? Spam in your inbox and hundreds of robocalls on your phone. The solution: Create an additional e-mail account and purchase an additional SIM card for online shopping and situations that require sharing your data.

Use messaging apps with end-to-end encryption

End-to end encryption may not be able to guarantee 100% security, but it is still the basic step for protection– that way, even the messaging service provider can’t see your conversations. By default, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Google, do not use end-to-end encryption. To enable it, manually start a secret chat.

Use secure passwords

It’s nearly impossible to memorise long and unique passwords, but with a password manager you can memorise just one master password. Use long (12 characters and more) passwords everywhere or use a different password for each service.

Review permissions for mobile apps and browser extensions

Mobile apps prompt you to give them permissions to access contacts or files in device storage, and to use the camera, microphone, geolocation, and so on. Some really cannot work without these permissions, but some use this information to profile you for marketing (and worse). Review the permissions you give to mobile apps. Also, do not install browser extensions unless you really need them. Carefully check the permissions you give them.

Secure your phone and computer with passwords or passcodes

Our computers and phones store a lot of data, so protect them with passwords. On mobile devices, do a bit better: six-digit PINs or actual passwords rather than four digits and screen-lock patterns. For devices that support biometric authentication—whether fingerprint reading or face unlock – that’s OK, but remember that these technologies have limitations.

Disable lock screen notifications

Protect your phone with a long, secure password, but leave notifications on the lock screen? Disable lock-screen notifications or hide sensitive information from the lock screen.

Stay private on Wi-Fi networks

Public Wi-Fi networks usually do not encrypt traffic, and that means anyone on the same network can try to snoop on your traffic. Avoid transmitting sensitive data over public Wi-Fi, and use a VPN to encrypt your data and protect it from prying eyes. If you must connect to a public hotspot, use a secure VPN connection.

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Source: Financial Express