Tips for Better Online Privacy

In the current world, your personal online reputation information is being accessed by multiple other online users. These other online users, commonly referred to as Big Data Brokers, frequently obtain other people’s personal online information and to use for their gain. In most cases, these brokers compile other people’s knowledge and sell it thus make a lot of profit out of this. This has made sharing personal online information highly risky to most people and companies as the information they post online can be easily accessed and changed. Data brokers usually change the information they obtain into what they want it to be and sell it. Understand that this means that online information is vulnerable to theft and even misuse. Brokers turn the information they access to fit their interests and likes and into a form that makes it easier to be sold.

 

This is how someones personal online reputation can be used against them

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However, there are several ways of protecting online information. Online privacy can be enhanced in several ways and also by the use of several tools. If you want to make the information you share online more secure and private, there are several ways of doing that. If in any case you already have any online information that you feel it is not as safe as possible, then there are also ways of making that information more secure and private.

 

In some cases, you can unknowingly post your private information online which is highly insecure

 

If you find that you posted your information online unknowingly or by mistake, you can usually opt to have it removed if you no longer want it to remain posted. But there are also many ways that your personal information can automatically appear online. These types of postings generally have something to do with public records and information sharing by banks and large corporations.

 

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Digitalization has brought varied things including automation online information posting. This digital world is also the one that has brought about the digitalization of public records. For example, if you happen to buy real estate or you have donated to a political campaign, you will find that significant amounts of your personal information suddenly appear online even when you had nothing to do with having posted it.

Also, if you happen to use a discount card in a grocery store, you will find all that information online as part of online marketing database of a consumer. Also, when you are surfing the web, companies will use cookies to track your personal information and add it to multiple databases. The links you click on are compiling staggering amounts of information about you behind your back. And that information is being bought and shared by different companies on an almost continuous basis.

This is called retargeting

 

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There is no freedom of speech

 

Most of the more sophisticated sites today will also track the browser history of the individual surfer if that person does not clear their cache or browser history every day. In most cases, people forget to clear their cache after browsing thus making their browsing history available online.

Ever wonder why the day after you were looking up vacation spots in the Caribbean, all the banners on every site you click on are all about Caribbean vacations? It’s called target marketing, and Big Data companies are very good at it.

Social media sites are a significant target for information miners also. Stop and think for a moment about the information someone could gather from you because you have shared on Facebook, Instagram or other social apps. Generally, most people will have shared where they work, where they live, who they are related to, what their hobbies are and so much more. Now would be a good time to go on each of the social media apps you use and review their terms and privacy policies. You may be shocked to find out the amount of information they require you to share and that they have the right to share it with whomever they like. So you can decide if it is worth it to you to stay a member of that site and if so, make sure all of your privacy settings are as strong as possible.

 

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Search your name constantly and sign up Google Alerts, they’re free.

 

If you want to protect your data on the internet start by setting your privacy settings to the highest level on all your electronics and all the apps you use. Yes, this means your telephone, your tablet, your laptop and your computer each separately. Have a secure password that includes letters, numbers, and special characters and change it on each device at least every four to five months. Once you’ve taken the time to do that, you will remember, never share your password with anyone.

Next, look-up your name in different search engines. Anytime you find a site that is reporting your name with any of your personal information that you did not create, immediately contact that site to have your information taken down or at the very least, hidden from public view. Many of these sites are gathering information from you putting too much information on social networking sites, so keep your postings void of any personal information.

Special Tip: Be careful of the apps you download as many have an extreme amount of text and conditions, allowing them access to your contacts and your pictures

 

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Other basic internet safety tips include installing and using both reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. The best of these types packages should consist of regular scans, firewalls and the clearing of cookies and browsing histories on a frequent basis. You should also be very cautious about using wi-fi connections in public places because you don’t know if anyone else is capturing your information. Never open any sensitive or personal information apps unless you are on your own private, password-secured network.

 

When it comes to emails in today’s digital age, you need to be very wary. Do not open any emails that come from sources unfamiliar to you. Also, you need to always be on the lookout for phishing emails. These can be tricky to spot but hover your cursor over the “from” section. Now you will be able to see where the email is originating from. Never respond to an email with personal or banking information or click through any hyperlinks. If, for example, you question whether the email is coming from your bank or your local utility company, call your bank or the utility company and ask them. More often than not, emails requesting you to respond with additional information are not legitimate because these companies would already have your information.

 

Special Tip: If you receive an email do not reply to the email. Exit out go to a new browser and log in from there or for better security call your bank or the company in question directly.

 

There are also some sites that ask you to fill out a questionnaire before you can access the information you desire. These questionnaires capture a lot of personal information. Therefore, when you are filling these questionnaires, you should provide minimal personal information. The chances are high that any personal information you give out will be used in an online database so if necessary, give the minimum amount of personal information as possible.

 

Special Tip: Purchase good anti-malware and anti-virus software and update regularly

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Ultimately, the responsibility to keep your information safe and secure is your own. Data miners and data brokers are continually looking to gather your data, so you must remain vigilant in keeping it secure. All of the tips and recommendations in this article are not just one time plans. The online reputation experts here at JW Maxx Solutions recommends that you review these safety measures at least every few months and anytime you receive new terms and conditions from any of the sites you use regularly.

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