No One Is Exempt: 6 Important Privacy Habits Everyone Should Practice

No One is Exempt: 6 Important Privacy Habits Everyone Should Practice

When it comes to privacy online, few people know how to protect their information and data. That’s why we’ve decided to create this article. It’ll go over some of the basic privacy habits everyone should pick up – everything from the importance of HTTPS, to social media habits, to encryption is mentioned!

Please keep in mind that this is not a definitive list. Chances are as the Internet evolves we may need to add to this list or create another one entirely! As usual, feel free to add any sort of additional privacy tips into the comments!

privacy-habits-https-everywhere

As websites get more and more vulnerable to attack or snooping, it’s always important to try to avoid websites that do not offer any sort of HTTPS mode. If you’re using regular HTTP, any information entered into this website could be easily siphoned without your knowledge. With HTTPS encryption, this is not the case.

Don’t worry, there’s no need to dig through every single website you visit to force it into HTTPS mode. Instead, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has made a useful browser extension called HTTPS-Everywhere. What does it do? It forces a website to use HTTPS if it has it. Install it for most mainstream browsers by following this link.

Social media is a thing of wonder. With it you can connect with friends in different countries speaking different languages all at the click of a button. Still, as impressive as this new media is, it comes at a cost. When you share personal details like your home phone number, address or other sensitive information, your friends may not be the only ones who can see it.

This problem can be neatly avoided by just changing privacy settings on your social media profiles, but it doesn’t really get at the mentality that needs to be corrected here. Even if you have a secure profile, you should never share personal details online.

privacy-habits-do-not-track

Advertisements. They make the Internet go round.  If they didn’t exist, a lot of websites would have a serious funding problem. There’s a funny thing that comes with Internet advertisements now, though. They’re increasingly monitoring user behavior and getting incredibly creepy with gathering data.

And it’s not even just advertisements. Have you ever seen a Facebook “share” or “like” button? Chances are Mark Zuckerberg and his friends knew exactly what website you were on and passively tracked your browsing activity on any websites you visited. All to then take this information to serve you ads on – you guessed it – Facebook. The song remains the same with a lot of similar sources, too, not just Facebook.

This is why it’s very important to dig into your web browser and enable the “Do not track” option. Most, if not all, mainstream web browsers out today have this setting in one way or another. With this option enabled it’ll be increasingly harder for websites to track your activity with various technologies.

privacy-habits-click4surveys

A lot of marketing and research centers online routinely ask people for their opinion on things in exchange for rewards, cash, or entries into sweepstakes. Sometimes these questions are mundane, but other times the questions can be very invasive – often without much reward or benefit for you.

Be weary of giving out your personal information or anything relating to your identity, as it’s very hard to verify the trustworthiness of these types of websites. Sure, a case can be made that some websites like this are totally trustworthy, but it’s better to just avoid all of these as a rule.

privacy-habits-privacy-badger

When using the Web you should take all the necessary steps to make sure your online interactions are as secure as possible. This can range from simple steps such as setting up two-factor authentication with your Twitter, Google, or Facebook account, to installing browser extensions (like Privacy Badger or Disconnect), to using a service like Lastpass to generate more secure and complex passwords.

privacy-habits-encryption

Encryption is a very useful technology for those looking to stay secure and private. Whether you’re just looking to encrypt your phone, your data, or your computer, the message is clear. When your devices and data are encrypted, they are more private. Snoopers or hackers will have a much harder time harvesting personal information from you if your stuff is locked away with a key.

Though user privacy is certainly not at the top of the list when talking about the Internet, there’s no question that it should be. I hope that with the help of this article you will take some of these suggestions into consideration and work to make your online experience more private and secure.

Image Credit: Yuri Samoilov

6 comments

  1. There are some mistakes here:

    For #3: Just because you enable it, doesn’t mean that you will all of a sudden not be tracked and be safer. “”With this option enabled it’ll be increasingly harder for websites to track your activity with various technologies.” Why do you think tracker-blokers like Privacy Badger and Disconnect exist? Because companies don’t usually respect the “Do Not Track” signal. Sending a “please don’t track me” message won’t make anything harder for websites when it comes to tracking your activity. Actions speak louder than words. Which is why there are privacy extensions to enforce privacy.

    For #5: Privacy Badger is a privacy extension. Yes, it improves security, but it doesn’t block things that aren’t tracking you (if some ads respect your privacy or something rare) which still could have seurity issues. If you need security, install NoScript. PRIVACY Badger is here to protect your privacy; NoScript is here to protect your privacy and security. Iblocks every script/iframe on a site. You only allow the bare minimum for the website to work.

  2. “2. Don’t share any personal information on social media”
    There have been quite a few articles about how Facebook tracks and collects data on people who are not members of any social networks.

    “3. Turn “Do not track mode” on in your browser”
    “Do not track” is nothing more than a polite request. Site can and do ignore it with impunity.

    “4. Stay away from sites that ask for personal information in exchange for “rewards””
    The period should be placed after the word “information”. Very few sites NEED your personal information for anything. Most sites WANT your personal information so they can sell it or better target ads at you.

  3. Seriously, while some of these points are just common sense and the followers of blogs like this already know these, the idea that any software you can use is somehow going to make you more secure is nothing more than a dry diaper and gives the illusion of security. The first point is totally and utterly retarded, really… dont go to any site that does not use https? O but dont worry there is an app that will force a site to use https if it has one. Odd, why would a site that has an SSL cert not use it? Sorry cant think of any but yea this tool will not allow you to visit sites that dont have one and that means 86% of the web will be off limits because some moron thinks you should not trust sites that did not fork out the extra bucks for an SSL cert and all that goes along with setting it up. Dont reply saying there are free ones out there unless you want me to spank you with the facts of why that is NOT the same as a paid, trusted cert! Yet again Make Tech Easier bloggers are clueless, spewing crap they have no solid background on and essentially making people paranoid for no other reason than to make themselves look important!

    • “that means 86% of the web will be off limits”
      Are you sure the figure is 86%, not 67% or 91.5%?! The way I heard it is that 90% of any statistics on the “Net are wrong or made up. :-)

  4. Weary: feeling or showing tiredness, especially as a result of excessive exertion or lack of sleep.
    Leery: cautious or wary due to realistic suspicions.

  5. @ Shinzool – I am weary of being leary! It takes a lot of work and paranoia to maintain one’s privacy. I have some pointers for people new to the challenge. Only use browsers that allow you to delete history automatically. Mine are set to delete all content on exit. Some to stay away from: Edge, no delete on exit. Chrome – constant telemetry going back to Google.
    use Privacy Badger by all means!! Use one browser to do your private stuff – banking, financials, ect. use another to shop online with and a third for garbage websites like facebook. I use Firefox, Pale Moon, Dragon, Brave, Opera, IE. Preferably stay away from Facebook and Twitter since they are some of the primary information stealers. Use private search engines like DuckDuckGo and Startpage. Use hidemyass.com If you want to kick up your security more then block google, facebook, linkedin, yahoo, AOL, ect using your hosts file. You will be surprised how many web links do not actually go where you think they are going. Instead you are routed first to Google or another of the big brother data stealers. Avoid too much info added onto web sites. Think of each time you post- would you be OK with the info on a billboard by the interstate? Because what you say has a much larger audience than any billboard. Last, do searches on your name, see what google and other engines bring up. This should be relatively small. If you are all over the WWW, expect some identity theft. Please join me and the other tin foil hats for a return to dignity, privacy and freedom.

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