5 Simple Tips to Protect Your Online Privacy

Your privacy is being threatened daily by the seemingly constant assault from a bottomless pit of spammers, hackers, data brokers and criminals. None of us can afford to get by on a wing and a prayer, i.e. in the hope that our accounts won’t become just another statistic, so here are a few ways to throw the hackers, trackers and other uninvited guests off your trail and defend your privacy online.

See Also: How to Protect Your Privacy Online

1. Use a privacy app

Want Bond-level privacy? If you really want to cover your tracks, History Eraser (Android) is worth a try. Simply choose the apps you wish to clear, including call history, texts and searches. If you’re not necessarily looking to cover your tracks but would like to protect your content, for example because you don’t want certain things accessed, try Private Files (iOS).

Apps are like octopi, spreading their tentacles to various parts of your phone to grab data and information about such things as your location or information from your address book. Naturally, they do this legally: to install the app you would have consented to their nosing around. Unfortunately, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition: if you don’t agree, you don’t get the app. Cue Clueful for Android, which will alert you to how the various apps you have installed are using (and abusing) your information without your knowledge.

2. Set up a disposable email address

Consider using a service such as Guerrilla Mail or Mailinator when shopping online as a way of protecting your standard email account from spammers.

3. Use an email service with built-in encryption

Some email services such a Hotmail tend not to be brilliantly secure. If you are regularly spammed, try a service such as Hushmail, from Hush Communications, which also offers two key benefits: no adverts and built-in encryption. It’s not free, but hey, your privacy is priceless, right?

4. Use a variety of complex passwords for each of your online accounts

For passwords, best practice recommends that you steer clear of verbs and pronouns and use nouns and adjectives instead. A mixture of bad grammar, upper and lower case letters and symbols are also recommended by password experts. Have a look at this Career Addict post for more information about password management.

5. Switch off the Web History function

Google aims to deliver personalised results and targeted advertisements to you; in order for this to happen, it needs your Web History to be switched on. If privacy is your priority, turn off the Web History function: go to history.google.com and simply remove the items you want removed.

In a world where few things are sacrosanct and everything is seemingly fair game, it’s  important to hold on to what is rightfully yours. These five tips will help you take back control of your privacy: shop freely knowing that you won’t be spammed; protect your email from uninvited guests; keep nosy apps away from your personal information and prevent data grabbers from grabbing hold of your information. Knowledge is power, so use these tips to ensure remain in control.

Are there any privacy tips I’ve missed out? If so, please share them through the comments box below.