Five Ways To Protect Your Privacy Online

Online Privacy, Online Security, Victoria Beckham Glamour Magazine

If you've been paying attention to the news at all, you probably heard that Facebook was hacked again recently.  This of course follows on the heels of the exposure of their information gathering techniques among other shady practices. I have some concerns when it comes to Facebook and if I didn't have a blog I probably wouldn't use it at all. That's why it absolutely confounds me that people still post all sorts of personal information and photos on there.  But then I guess there are those who have nowhere else to exercise their overarching need for attention. Beyond that, people should be concerned that a so called "safe" network can be so easily infiltrated and more than once at that.

While the internet is a resource that most of us use on a daily basis in a professional and personal capacity, it can also be used to track and trace our identities and reveal our personal information if we're not careful. That's why we need to take our privacy seriously. While I may be a blogger, and I write about topics which are highly personal and relevant to me, my privacy matters and I make  a deliberate effort not to put myself out there online. This includes limiting photos of myself and not sharing many personal details. I can assure you that I am who I present myself to be on here and those of you have have met me can vouch that I'm a real person. And here are some measures that I employ to protect my privacy online.

1. Don't Divulge Key Personal Information
I avoid disclosing any type of personal identifying information like my last name, birthday, mother’s maiden name, spouse's name, etc. on any social media sites. This is a very simple and basic way to protect yourself online because this is the precise the type of information that can be used to steal your identity.  If you really need people to wish you a happy birthday, you can share the month and day and leave out the year. For anything that requires a birthdate, I actually have a designated fake one that I use of an obscure celebrity that I like so I won't forget it.

2. Don't Overshare
There are people on Facebook who will actually live post their vacations and some who post photos of their children multiple times daily. It's needy, it's annoying and it's also dangerous. If it's that important to get those likes, then limit the the viewership to those who are closest to you. You never want people to know when you're not at home and especially for an extended period of time because that means it's uninhabited and could make it a target for thieves. And for people who post many photos of your children, keep in mind that it can be considered an invasion of privacy if it's done without their permission and you could also be opening up yourself to predators and something even more horrifying. Again take advantage of privacy settings and be judicious about the photos you post as well as the identifying information associated with them.

3. Don't Share Your Location
Most phones, apps, and web services have geo-location services that track and tag your location. I always turn these off. I don't like people knowing where I am at any time and I generally don't live post from events preferring to wait until I've already left the location. I also never take photos around where I live that can identify my address. We use a VPN on all our devices at home and on the go. This is a virtual private network that conceals our IP address and encrypts our data connection allowing us to be secure and anonymous while we're online. It also allows us to divert our actual physical location. With net neutrality regulations being taken away in the US, I'd highly recommend the use of a VPN as a means to secure your internet access. We use Private Internet Access.

4. Block Cookies On Your Web Browser
Cookies are a form of internet tracking technology that allows websites to identify you when you visit them. The data that is collected gets mashed together to form your “digital profile,” which some sites will sell without your consent to companies around the world. If you block cookies, you can prevent some of this type of data collection. This means that you might have to enter passwords more often, but again worth it for the added protection.

5. Use Two-Factor Authentication
This is a process which requires verification of your identity before you can log into an app or website. A unique code will be sent to your phone, which you have to input that code to be granted access. The extra step can be a pain but it's worth it for the extra measure of security. And don't ever use social media sites to sign into any other sites. That's just asking for trouble.

When it comes to your online security, the best practice is to think before you post and better to be safe than sorry.  If you find this information to be helpful, please share it. Do you tend to overshare or are you vigilant about your privacy?

Photo: Glamour

16 comments

  1. Not only Facebook, but apparently Google+ as well, and quite a few months ago without telling anyone!

    Anne - Linda, Libra, Loca

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  2. Interesting post dear! thanks for sharing, xx

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  3. This is definitely the time to start thinking about protecting our privacy. I think most people don't realize that everything we think is free- all social media platforms actually isn't free at all. We let them gather information about us and they earn money selling it. I wish there were more affordable options out there that would allow us to protect our mails and correspondence (for example google reads all of their mail) but we can always start somewhere. Oversharing is definitely dangerous, on any media platform. Protecting our personal information and location whenever we can, these things are essential. I don't think that people realize at what kind of risk they are putting themselves and their children.

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  4. These tips are so important. Thanks for sharing Rowena. We live in a time where just the smallest detail of your life can potentially cause issues for your privacy. I don't share my last name either. I try to be careful online and in general.

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  5. Hi Rowena! Nope, to be honest I pay much attention on it, on what I share and what others can know through it about me. Is very important especially at these times were everything seems public and everyone can use private info as like. Your tips are good and I try to apply them too in my everyday use of the net, fb especially. Kisses dear! xo

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  6. Wow Rowena, these are very good tips. Just like me, if I weren't blogging I'd probably never would have an interest, to be on social media period. I always have the location off on my phone. I can't tell you how many times I've walked pass a shop. And Google ask me to review it...Ugh Google I never went in...Leave me alone already. And as for Facebook, I'm still shocked at how many people post everything, of every minute of the day on there. These users are making it too easy for predators of all kinds. Thank you for sharing : ) xo

    www.juanitalikes.com

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    1. Do you really think turning off your location mode on mobile setting gives you anonymity. I am afraid but this is wrong. Your mobile carrier always knows you the moment you switch on your phone. If you really want to get secured and keep your privacy use a vpn. I prefer using dedicated ip vpn which lets me connect to same ip location (of my choice) every time I connect to the vpn for masking my online identity.

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  7. Dear Rowena, actually these are some very necessary tips, we all should apply them in our everyday use of internet. Sometimes one small mistake can make our life difficult.I always try to be careful but this post has given me another warning to do it more. Thanks for sharing dear.
    Have a nice day dear!
    http://www.rakhshanda-chamberofbeauty.com/

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  8. "...their overarching need for attention..."...I just laughed so hard at this, chingu! #truth I don't do IG or FB for this reason:D But seriously, I so agree that it's scary now how easy it is to get personal info. I'm guilty of sharing photos of my kiddos, but even then, it's not all the time and I never reveal their names anywhere. I get pissed off when personal acquaintances tag them online with their real names, but thank God it doesn't happen often.
    Now, with everything getting hacked, it's really such a pain to monitor everything, but definitely necessary. Sigh.

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  9. This is a great reminder for us to be conscious of our safety and privacy at all times and your tips are so detailed and on point. I do not trust “anything” or “anyone” at all these days. I don’t use Facebook but I do love my blog and Instagram and I share quite a bit on these platforms but usually in general terms. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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  10. Great tips :) I'm bit weird if it comes to privacy protection - I almost got phone scamed - we had a scam in Poland when people call you because they heard your name in hospital when you were visiting someone from the family or they call older people that their money is in danger or bank account is in danger. I had a situation when my grandma was at the hospital with my mom and I was alone at home with no one to call, they called me that my mom's account is in danger since some bank worker tries to rob the clients. They told me that they are from a office that's similar to FBI in US which I know that something like this exists but the guy told that he's called like a policeman from one old polish TV series - when I was 5 this show was popular and to this day I love to re-watch it, I work for IT brands so even if I was panicked and my whole life was a mess I got an alert in my brain all the time because of the way companies test us (believe me, they send you encrypted messages with pendrives, they send you food with some laxatives to see if you'll try it or not) but the guy told me that he's going to connect me with police to check his authencity - we checked that but he told me not to use mobile phone because there might be harmful app that keeps listening to my conversations - lol dude, cable phone is easier to do in my opinion but nevermind. So I acted like I had a panic attack and I need a moment - I went to the hall, closed the doors and I called police - as I thought it was a scam, so I called the police meanwhile when I was waiting for them I started a conversation and I started to say bullshit like "yep, there's my dad with me" or " I don't know which bank my mom uses, you should tell me which bank it is since no one normal in this country would keep money on one account only" and then I told them that on one account there's only 50$ and 100$ on other account, usually people keep more money than this so it was suspecting they didn't give up even for such shitty money. When he asked me for login I gave him random number and when he asked for a password I told "are you stupid dude but thanks for playing this game, I already located you" - the police came and they told me I did well, couple weeks ago they catched the scammer that tried to scam me.

    From my job's perspective the tips I can give - use hard passwords like random letters, numbers, etc and use VPN's + don't connect to local wifi - it doesn't make you protect your privacy in 100% but at least you do anything.

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  11. These are good tips! I don't share photos of my kids online as I know that nothing is really as private as we think - facebook your privacy is only as good as the weakest security of a friend in your connections, and I have a few family members with public profiles, so I assume everything is public :) I think it's easy to forget that we share a lot online - my dad works in IT so I got lots of lessons and things to remember before I even got to use the internet for the first time (yes, I'm that old, ha!). I always remembered his advice - no matter what you do, what you say or who you say it too, anyone can see it and bring it up again later. Such good advice!

    Hope that you are having a wonderful week so far :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

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  12. Great reminder to all of us to be conscious when we're on the internet. We should all try to be careful online and in the real world as well. Thanks for sharing such an important article. x

    Ann-Marie | http://facetocurls.com/

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  13. I do not have Facebook and I have a blog that do just fine without it, but is really due to my day job is the reason I do not have it. All of the above everyone should follow by .

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  14. Oversharing is dangerous & indeed, we’ve to be extra careful what we share online. Great tips, babe! xoxo

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  15. These are wonderful tips.. thank you so much for sharing.

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

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