When you register your first email address or create your first social media account, you set the stage for a long trail of personal data online. The more accounts you open, the more information search engines have on you.
Perhaps Google knows the most about you of all internet entities. Have you recently googled a product you want to purchase?
Did you notice similar items in your Facebook newsfeed after that? The two platforms cooperate to remember your shopping habits and show you products you might eventually buy as well.
This has its pluses, but obviously, there are some downsides to reckon with.
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What is your smartphone sharing about you?
Many people don’t even know how many apps they have on their phones. This information is available under “Apps and Settings.” Each app collects information about you. Fitness apps, in particular, are very curious. They have information like your age, weight, location, what gym you go to, your jogging routes, etc.
This data isn’t shared online automatically, but people tend to boast about their sports achievements on forums and social media, which leads to even less internet privacy.
Don’t let apps track your location
No app should get to track your location. If you need to call a cab, you’ll need it enabled, though. Still, you don’t have to order one through an app. You can just call them. It still works in some countries, at least.
Check public records
If you really want to know what the internet has on you, you can conduct a background check on yourself. When you look for public records, you might find your marriage certificate, court records, high school records, education history, traffic violations, and employment history. People run self-checks mainly to find out which of their personal data is publicly available.
YouTube knows your viewing preferences
YouTube remembers what you watch and share and builds your viewer profile based on that. It’s not a good idea to log into YouTube via your Google account. If you do, make sure you have a strong password.
Travel sites have your payment information
Booking and travel sites can hold your credit card number, a scanned ID copy, and other financial details. No site is completely immune to attacks.
How to protect your information
Start with a password manager. It stores your passwords safely, and you don’t have to keep a record. This tool will be able to create much more complicated passwords than you will on your own. The generator’s passwords are practically impossible to guess.
Password managers protect data via encryption. Most add security with two-factor authentication.
1. Use antivirus software
Antivirus software protects you from ransomware, spyware, malware, adware, and keylogging. All of this software puts your device at immense risk.
There are two types of antivirus programs: real-time and on-demand. The former is always running in the background, while the latter requires your input to activate.
2. Data privacy management software
These data removal tools help you manage the volume of data other internet users can access. They work by removing your personal data from data brokers’ websites, so the brokers can’t sell it.
3. Leverage a cloud backup solution
To keep your data from accidentally getting deleted, you can use a cloud backup solution to keep copies in another location. This way, the data will always be available to you.
Why is this important? If your device is attacked by ransomware and you have copies of your data, the attacker can’t achieve much. They might delete your files, but you have your backup versions.