E-commerce and options to store data online have made a difference in our lives, but at the same time, this has also increased the value of our data for the e-commerce industry. What we buy online, websites visit, pages we like on social media is all this is part of our digital self, along with our accounts, profiles, and digital devices.
Our data is valuable to both the companies we use for entertainment and business and to those that want to grab and sell our data to others. Unfortunately, stopping this data from getting collected is easier said than done. In some cases, the app or web service directly asks us for our data and we have to provide it to continue using that service.
Wondering how important to make your digital self safe at all times? check out this infographic to learn more.
The other challenge is that digital privacy settings vary from service to service. You have to go through the settings of each service and understand what data is being collected and what options are available to minimize collection. If you’re looking to protect your digital self, here are seven things you should consider.
Cookies are code that is get stored on your computer. Many websites we visit informs about using cookies and ask if we are okay with it. Since these cookies are stored on the computer, they don’t get deleted when you stop using that site. Remove these cookies from your computer regularly. if you use a system cleaning software, check if the software has this option.
Be careful with what apps you choose
Regardless of which niche you search, you will likely find many apps that provide the service you need. To understand their data collection and storage policy, check the app description and, if available, the manual. Contact the developers if needed. Beware of free apps and apps that sound too good to be true. These apps may take your data without your consent.
Check the security status of a website before using it
The extensions of most websites are now HTTPS instead of HTTP. The HTTPS extension is preferable because it encrypts your communication. Your antivirus software may have a function for identifying the security of web sites. Another way you can check for HTTPS is by installing a browser extension called HTTPS Everywhere. The extension is available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Tor, Brave, Andriod, and iOs.
Check what information is available about you online
Besides protecting what information you provide to others, also check what information is already out there. Of course, the simplest way to do this is to Google your name. Another, more detailed, way is to choose a data collection service like Nuwber. On the site, you can search by your name, number, or location to see what information is publicly available. The profile page has links to a person’s contact info, locations, neighbours, associates, social media accounts, and public records. Is there some information you would like to remove? Contact Nuwber and ask them to take it down. Repeat the process with other data collectors/aggregators.
Avoid touch ID
Granted, touch ID makes things quicker, But, it is also less secure than having a strong password as your primary login. The reason touch ID is less secure is that it will be easier for someone to force your thumb on the sensor than guess the password you have used.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network, or VPN, is an effective way to encrypt your information/ hide your IP address. VPNs give you the option to connect to a server located in the same country or another country. VPNs also come in handy when you are outside or travelling and have to connect to a public network. There are both downloadable and cloud-based VPN services. Use a reputed review site to learn more about the VPN service you like.
Many web services now offer you the option of two-factor authentication. The second authentication method can be a code, a fingerprint, etc. While this method means it’ll take a few more seconds to log into, it will also increase the difficulty level of access to your account.