Confidently customers ask us all the time: What all should I do to protect my privacy? The answer is probably a little different for everybody.
Having privacy means being able to choose which personal information, if any, you share with specific people and companies. Until recently, protecting your online privacy has been difficult and limited: You can control what you post on social media or what you disclose in a Zoom call with friends and co-workers, but good luck keeping tabs on the rest of your personal information being shared through cookies and trackers -- let alone the hundreds of companies that have collected your data.
Fortunately, thanks to new technology and new regulation, you can do more and more to manage your privacy in your digital life. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting a lot better.
With that in mind, here are 6 tips for managing your privacy and taking back control of your personal data online:
Delete your personal data from companies that shouldn’t have it. Your personal information has probably been collected by hundreds, if not thousands, of companies over the past few years. But do they all need it? Definitely not. The fewer companies that have your info, the less likely your data will be hacked in the next company’s data breach or exposed on the dark web.
Confidently can help you exercise your new privacy rights to shrink your online footprint down to just the most essential companies that you trust—deleting your personal data from dozens of data brokers (the “arms dealers” of the web) and stopping dozens more consumer brands from selling your data. Sign up for a 30-day free trial to Confidently.
Get alerted when your personal data is exposed on the dark web. Suffering a data breach is bad PR, so companies are notoriously slow to notify customers when their personal data has been leaked or hacked. You deserve to be alerted when your data is involved in a data breach so you can protect yourself—especially if you share the same username/password combination in multiple places.
Use a password manager. By setting up distinct passwords for each of your different online accounts, and organizing them in a password manager like LastPass, Dashlane, or 1Password, you can protect yourself if hackers get their hands on your data from a company’s data breach. They can’t then access all of your online accounts from the same username/password combination.
Sign up for two-factor authentication. To add another layer of security to your online accounts, beyond just your username & password, add two-factor authentication (2FA). With 2FA, you’re asked to provide a second piece of information at login—like a verification code you receive in a test message, or a random code that pops up in Google Authenticator or Authy—that makes your account even tougher to hack.
Get a VPN. A virtual private network (VPN) like NordVPN or ExpressVPN provides you even more privacy by concealing your IP address when you’re surfing the internet. A VPN also provides an encrypted connection to the web, so other users on the same network can’t snoop on your online activity.
Browse in incognito or private mode. Incognito browsing helps shield your web activity by blocking cookies and preventing the sites you visit from being added to your browser history. Even better, by using a privacy-friendly browser like Firefox or Brave, you can activate additional features like ad blockers and other tracking blockers.
Those are our top privacy tips -- but it’s far from an exhaustive list.
What else are you doing to protect your privacy? We’d love to hear your ideas. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!