You know what they say… the Internet is forever, so be careful what you post. Posting work-appropriate social media content is something that most people are mindful of nowadays, but what about the things that are a bit harder to control? Let’s face it: online privacy isn’t what it used to be, and it’s up to us to keep ourselves and our families safe online. Here are a few easy ways to protect your online privacy that you may not already be thinking about.
Disable location services
Using your location to provide you with a weather report is fair enough, but what about to serve you advertisements? And do you really need your tweets to be signed off with a geo-tag? Location services have complicated intentions, but it’s pretty safe to say that turning them off for apps that don’t technically need them is in your best interest.
When it comes to social media, just think about it: you wouldn’t publicly advertise exactly where you were to a stranger, so don’t let Twitter or Facebook do it for you. Removing these tags helps protect your online privacy. And though they’re a popular way to get engagement on Instagram, you may also want to consider refraining from using location tags for not-so-public locations like private residences and children’s schools.
Be careful with public WiFi
The workforce is more remote than ever, which means many of us work wherever we can. We’re often treating coffee shops like our offices, working on our vacations, and finishing up documents on our mobile devices. But be careful with which public WiFi networks you choose, if any.
Co-working spaces and traditional offices are typically safe, but you’ll still want to avoid transferring anything overly sensitive or personal while using it. Public locations like your local coffee shop or shopping center can be even worse. It’s in your best interest to avoid doing any online banking or shopping while using them.
Use a VPN
For those times when you do need to use public WiFi, a VPN, or virtual private network, can really help you out. VPNs do a few major things that help protect your online privacy including:
- Hiding your IP address
- Masking your location
- Encrypting data transfers
In general, they make your browsing sessions a little more secure by helping you stay anonymous. IP addresses are like your computer’s virtual social security number, and giving it away to every site you visit isn’t always recommended (or necessary.)
Use encrypted messaging
Many of us use messaging apps to communicate with our friends, colleagues, and family members nowadays. While traditionally, we spoke to those people by phone, which is a bit harder to track, tap, or steal information from, messages often leave a digital paper trail. Using an encrypted messaging service can help minimize that risk and protect your online privacy. To put it simply, encryption helps prevent anyone other than the intended viewer from viewing the message.
There are several apps on the market that allow you to encrypt your messages, including:
Another bonus to these apps is that they often allow you to chat with friends in different countries without worrying about traditional international cellular fees.
Use a reputation monitoring tool like Marple to protect your online privacy
Protecting your sensitive data doesn’t end with messaging apps or private WiFi connections. Your personal information should also be protected in more public settings, like online search. Marple can help with that.
Our app allows you to track what’s being said about you online by sending you a notification whenever a new search result pops up with your name in it. In addition to your name, you might also choose to monitor your company name, your email address, or a signature phrase that describes you or your business. Keeping tabs on what comes up in search will help give you peace of mind and put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing your online privacy and reputation.