7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Websites Stealing Your Personal Infromation

The sad truth about the Internet these days is that it is nearly impossible to know what kind of person is running a website. There are countless
horror stories of identity theft, data mining, and the exploitation of and sharing of personal information. The problem is that most people are unaware about how - and how much - personal data is being used and how often it's shared with third parties. How could you? The data collection itself is invisible. We have no idea what they are going to do with the personal data collected from us. We cannot trust a third party website how they are going to use the personal information collected from us. So it is our duty to protect ourselves from websites stealing our personal information.

The intentions of some websites that mine your data are sometimes harmless and motivated by curiosity; their actions are typically in violation of the intended use of the systems they are exploiting. The results can range from mere mischief to straight up malicious endeavors.

Protecting your online privacy may seem nearly impossible, but there are, in fact, a handful of strategies that can help reduce the risk of inadvertently sharing your private personal data with other websites.

1. Block Cookies on Your Browser

Tracking is done by files and programs known as "cookies." It certainly isn't the only way advertisers and other companies track information, but third-party cookies are the most intrusive tracking technology on the web.

Luckily, most Web browsers (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, etc.) allow users to view and delete cookies installed on their computer. A quick Google search on "How to delete cookies," and you're well on your way to safer surfing.

2. Turn on Private Browsing

All major browsers offer a "private browsing" mode to limit, not block, all cookies. When private browsing is engaged, cookies will be deleted each time the browser is closed or private browsing is turned off.

3. Use Different Usernames and Passwords

You know what they say: "It is better to be safe than sorry." To avoid having your information stolen from across the board, it is a good idea to assign different usernames and passwords for each of your social networks, online banking and shopping accounts, professional sites and email. Having distinct passwords is not enough nowadays.

4. Close All Old Accounts

Sure, the Friendster and Match.com seemed like good ideas at the time, but it has been ages since you've accessed them. Go ahead and close down those old accounts and do a good old-fashioned digital wipe of any old personal information floating around out there in cyberspace.

Think of it this way: A security system won't work if the back door is always left wide open.

5. Maximize Privacy Settings on Social Networks

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is very important. Facebook's privacy settings change all the time, so be sure to stay on top of them and adjust your preferences as needed.

6. Disconnect From the Internet

The convenience of always being connected to the Internet comes with major risks. Believe it or not, the likelihood that viruses scanning the network will target your computer becomes higher if your computer is always connected. Get into the habit of disconnecting your computer from the Internet whenever you aren't using it.

7. Don't Reply to Suspicious Emails

As exciting as it may be to see the email subject line "You've won $1,000,000!", chances are, you haven't. Dodgy emails from unknown senders offering free iPads, money, and promise far-fetched business opportunities are almost always a scam. Responding to such emails could open the door for a plethora of electronic intruders.

Guest Article

A College of Charleston grad, Amanda Click has been writing for professionally since 2009. Amanda hails from Rockville, Maryland but has called Charleston home for the past six years. This article is about 7 ways to protect ourselves from websites who steal and gamble our personal information. This methods are free methods and we do not need to use any third party tools to block websites from accessing our personal information. To write guest posts for us, follow the link below.


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