Many internet users think that they are advanced in safety matters when they manage to tweak Facebooks privacy and security options, clear cookies, empty browser caches or use the incognito mode in Chrome. Every advanced privacy option enabled is great although it does not mean that users are aware of privacy setting in their browsers, Google or operating system and most are hidden away from basic users who are not internet safety pros.
VPN – Best Option for Staying Safe Online
The easiest and best option for anyone and everyone is the use a VPN, it is a highly recommended safety tool by IT specialists, and even hackers agree that it is your best way to stay safe and secure. The benefit of VPN stretches much further than security and privacy and offers complete anonymity of websites visited, downloads and all other activities. VPNs encrypt all mail and other activities, masks IP addresses, prevent third-party marketing and assists users in staying safe from hackers. VPN uses also include bypassing geographic restrictions, and streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Netflix.
A wide variety of different VPN service providers is available to users from across the globe, and for a very low monthly fee, internet users can gain complete safety and security across all devices including desktops, laptops, mobile devices, smart TVs, routers and gaming devices such as PlayStation and Wii. VPN set-up is easy, and VPN service providers have an assortment of text and video tutorials to ensure the installation process is hassle-free, and once the VPN is installed further use only entails connecting to the service.
Online users who would rather go a different direction to avoid VPN users can use several other options to remain untraceable online.
Returning to the Basics
The basics may be evident although readers might be reminded of some ground rules or discover new ones.
- In creating a new account on any website remember to never sign up for newsletters or emails as this enables websites to track users. (Obviously, if the emails or newsletters are relevant to users interest they would take the risk, but in most cases, marketing emails are more of an inconvenience than informing)
- Emails or newsletters already bombarding user’s mailbox can be cancelled by using the unsubscribe option. This would stop emails being sent on a weekly basis although the site can still be used for shopping via the registration details.
- An alternative option is to create an email account for each service and then to link these together to identify which of the services are sending unwanted or spam emails. This option is time-consuming and creating new emails for each is tiring.
- Should downloads require an email address and this is not favourable, then the answer is gaining a temporary email from websites that allow a new email registration, this is a temporary email address deleted after a few hours. It is a perfect option to avoid spam and useful for one-time mail registering.
Browsers store lots of information regarding user’s privacy including autofill options, browsing histories and saved passwords. The option is really useful for everyday use but a huge risk when it comes to online security.
- Chrome Tracking – To disable Chrome tracking ensure that the setting “Do Not Track” are enabled in the browser.
- Incognito Mode – During incognito mode no browsing history is recorded or save; web cache is disabled although this option does not safeguard users from being tracked.
- Block Third-Party Cookies – HTTP cookies are bits of data stored on computers and some third-party cookies track the browsing history, the only way to avoid this is by enabling the “block third-party cookies” option in the content settings.
Facebook Much Love Hub of Personal Information
Not only Facebook but all social media sites contain a lot of user’s personal details and information to enable personal and social interaction. Facebook is one of the main culprits when it comes to sharing information to websites, although some settings could be used to gain a tiny bit more security.
- Most websites and apps make signing in via Facebook a convenient and easy way to, this option is fast although at the same time it allows the website to gain access to a huge chunk of information.
- One of the most important things to adjust on Facebook is the “Apps others/friends use” these are plugins, websites, and apps used by your friends. Uncheck all which that do not allow friends to share your personal data.
- Do anyone know what information Facebook has access to? Find out by visiting the Settings – app section to check the historical access in Facebook’s history and closely review all apps that can currently access all your details.
- By disabling Facebook’s platforms such as plugins, websites, and app the integration that Facebook allows by default can be avoided.
Windows 10 Security
Some holes or flaws are part of every operating system, and Windows 10 has been criticised for sharing information regarding users to Microsoft, which includes Cortana collecting data and attaching user’s ids. A lot of flaws are also present in the Windows 10 OS although the system provides several options allowing the user to control the terms of privacy. The defaults are faulty in respects to security and can be changed to better the levels of privacy and security.
- Start with the most basic privacy setting in Windows, opt out from “let apps use advertising ID” and “Send Microsoft how I write”. The last-mentioned option could be less harmful although it remains to share what users might not want to, while the first option halts Microsoft in its action to tailor ads to user-specific.
- Bothered by operating systems asking for your feedback? Change the privacy settings and disable “Send device data to Microsoft”.
- Several of our articles regarding how easy it is for hackers to gain access to passwords and personal information involves microphones and computer cameras. This could sound like a paranoid option, but Windows allows users to turn off microphones and cameras or to select which programs are allowed to access both.
- By avoiding ads based on your location or city, it is recommended that internet users turn off the location of the device, which prevents the sharing of their location.
- Take time to check all settings in the privacy section and change what could be invading your security and privacy.
Google Knows It All
When it comes to a program that knows the most about users, Google is guilty, it collects all personal details and information, consistently and aggressively. Google is used for basically everything including watching videos on YouTube, emails, and browsing.
Google is conveniently open once users launch their browser if it is selected as the default and the extent to which Google invades user’s privacy can be minimised via a few setting adjustments.
- Google is convenient, easy to use and it allows everyone to gain access to websites, videos, latest news and at the end it is the largest and most recognised search engine, although everyone forgets to read up on what the app requests in return for ease of use. In most cases, the basic information regarding the user is needed, although some websites requests access to users contacts. This is overlooked by most and by clicking next in trying to access the information the site gain access to confidential information – read before clicking next.
- Not many individuals remember or even think of what kinds of websites or apps are connected to their Google accounts or the information these sites access. Luckily this can be checked into Google account by visiting the sign-in, security, & connected sites & apps section allowing users to adjust privacy and activity related setting in their accounts.
- Google’s information collecting and snooping can be switched off or reduced by changing the “ads settings” in your account as well as disabling the “ads personalisation”. It will assist in avoiding most ads or at least minimise the number of ads”.
- If it is still a bit hard to believe that Google knows it all then check the “my activity” section in Google. This section contains users browsing activities, and it also displays Google tracking your location via Google maps down to the destinations exact coordinates. This can be changed by “activity controls” or “manage your Google activity” settings. The list might shock most as all activities are listed and out in the open including sites visited, searches, Google map locations via users GPS and even what music was listened to, videos watched on YouTube. The accumulated data can be deleted, and the tracking paused by changing the setting in the sections.
These are just the basics, yet they also some of the most important in getting your security on track, although there are many other ways to minimise tracking and spying. The easiest and most recommended option is the use of a VPN service which also encrypts all data.