Government whistleblowers, spying, mobile phone hacking, private photographs leaked through iCloud, and other stories circulate on television and computer screens around the world.
The use of the PRISM program by the US government, which reportedly tracked over 1 million people in the US alone, has been especially shocking.
Naturally, privacy and protection have become increasingly important, not just in banks and boardrooms, but also in bedrooms and coffee shops around the world. Many people want to avoid being monitored, followed, or spied on online, even if it’s only to “check” on their Google searches, Skype calls, Facebook posts, or email messages.
There are many ways to shield yourself from Big Brother and those who make a living tracking your every online step but bear in mind that nothing is completely foolproof. Scammers, spammers, and others spend their days and nights trying to make your online experience insecure and under constant attack. That isn’t to say you can give in or behave irresponsibly online.
To be extra secure, cover your built-in computer camera with a small strip of black electrical tape before you begin reading this post. Hackers will turn on your webcam from afar. The red light will usually indicate that it has been switched on, although this is not always the case. Hackers and scammers use a variety of tactics to avoid detection; don’t fall victim to their prying eyes.
There are 12 strategies for keeping the data out of the crosshairs.
1. Clean Your Internet Browsing History After Every Use.
Your IP address and emails are the most popular ways for you to be monitored online. Any website you visit online keeps track of how much time you spend there and leaves “cookies” on your computer. ‘Cookies,’ also known as a ‘HTTP cookie,’ a ‘internet cookie,’ or a ‘browser cookie,’ are similar to crumbs. They stay in your computer like crumbs after you’ve eaten a cookie and keep track of all you’ve done. This is what helps you to log in to previously visited websites without having to type in passwords and usernames each time. It keeps you logged in, or it pre-fills your information before you log on. Companies will also see what things you are looking at when shopping, what posts you are reading on a news site, and what you are learning on any given day using this method. This information assists businesses and organizations in determining how to interact with you and which product descriptions and pop-up advertising that entice you to purchase or press.
To get around this, you’ll need to clean up your search history and make your browsing habits private.
It is possible to wipe out Google Chrome, Firefox, all versions of Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera, and AOL, among others.
You may also use Piriform to erase portions of your online footprint. One way to avoid being monitored online is to make sure you delete this info. When you do this, you’ll need to keep better track of your passwords. If you’re having trouble keeping track of your passwords, KeePassX is a password vault that’s secured and stored locally on your device.
2. Create Specific Passwords For Each Account.
Don’t put your confidence in the Internet to keep you safe. Also, don’t presume that no one would try and break into your accounts because you’re uninteresting or don’t have something valuable to steal. The more time you spend online, the more likely you are to be victimized.
Avoid using passwords like ‘abcdef’ or ‘12345,’ and never use the word ‘password.’
Passwords should not be shared. When building online profiles, stay organized. Store them on a USB flash drive or in a notebook that only you have access to. Take the time to create passwords that are difficult to guess and free of the knowledge that many people might be familiar with. LastPass is a password manager that can help you create strong passwords.
4. Use Tor And a Linux Live Image, Like Tails.
Tor is one of the most effective security and privacy tools available. Tor is completely free to download and use. Tor scrambles your IP address, masking your location and personal information. The Internet Protocol, or IP address, is a numeric access code used to use the internet. Your internet provider, such as Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and others, assigns your device an IP address that serves as your online identifier. Businesses, activists, journalists, the military, law enforcement officials, and even Edward Snowden use Tor as a reliable source.
Another good way to stop being monitored online is to use a Linux Live Image like Tails. You will get the service by downloading it and burning it to a CD or USB drive. It won’t save any of your Internet usage, so any of your searches and other work won’t be saved until you shut down your computer. If you choose this option, make sure to save your files in pdf format to your computer or a USB key.
6. Encrypt Your Email Messages.
GNU Privacy Guard allows you to encrypt e-mails and data (GnuPG or GPG). If anyone knows your passphrase and the answer to your “code question,” your files would be bullet-proof and unreadable. When you first install GPG, you’ll be prompted to create a passphrase and private and public keys. As secure as a newborn infant, keep the private key and password. You’ll be able to decrypt your messages and files with these. When anyone wants to give you a message or a file, they can encrypt it with your public key. Feel free to share your public key with anyone you’d like to chat with anonymously. This is how Edward Snowden leaked details to Laura Poitras, a guerrilla filmmaker, and Glenn Greenwald, a journalist for The Guardian.
8. Use Bitcoins.
Bitcoin is still a controversial monetary mechanism that is not widely used by the general public but is gaining traction in the financial world. Bitcoin and PayPal have been collaborating. Bitcoins, according to others, can be used to avoid paying taxes and can be bought anonymously, allowing you to avoid being monitored online or by any electronic means. It also poses a danger to central governments and has the potential to destabilize the conventional banking system.
If you want more information on Bitcoin and why you might want some here are a few reasons:
5 Reasons We Should All Be Buying Bitcoin
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9. Don’t Post Overly Personal Details Anywhere Online.
Avoid using family members’ birth dates, middle names, maiden names, social security numbers, phone numbers, bank numbers, or other personal details.
Don’t share any photos that you wouldn’t want anyone to see or possibly copy and re-use.
Setting your accounts to private and filtering all friend requests can be challenging, but it is one way to protect yourself and avoid being monitored online.
10. Read All The Fine Print.
When you create an online account, you are given the option to read the User Agreement policy. Don’t dismiss them. Wait to create an account before you have the time to read through all of the rules associated with that online platform or account, and copy and paste for later in-depth reading. Make sure you’re aware of the ramifications. Avoid signing contracts that make you feel uneasy or that you are uncertain about. Some online profiles, apps, and forums have the right to use your personal information, including your network’s personal information.
The internat today is full of snakes that want to get their hand on information that you dont want puplic. Some of this information is easier to find than you may think but there are simple ways to limit what hackers and goverments can find.
Its better to be safe than sorry.