Social Media Life: It seems like today everyone is a in a great hurry to expose their personal lives online. Social Media like Facebook provide what is essentially an online forum for public revelation. In order to enter many sites you must reveal your email address, and then there are cookies, not to mention viruses and malware attempting to acquire your private information. How can we possibly hope to protect our private lives from such a surge of informational theft? If it were truly conceivable in today’s fully-connected world it would be best to never get online. Otherwise, consider some prudent precautions.
Browse through your Browser
Unless you carefully examine what your browser is doing, it could be sharing information and you don’t know about. Search your setup, options or preferences menu and remove any mention of your name. Anything that personally identifies you, remove it or replace it with false information, including your email address.
Remember you can always provide accurate information on sites that you trust, but don’t allow your browser to share this information without your knowledge. And be sure you can trust your Internet provider.
Must Read: Importance of Social Media Monitoring
You Don’t Know what’s in that Cookie
“Cookies” may seem innocuous, but you can’t trust that these bits of information stored on your computer are always safe. True, many are harmless, but some cookies are actually little data miners out to track what you do on the Web. They can track where you go and which ads you click on and then sell this information to third parties.
Fortunately, most browsers can be set to notify you before saving a cookie. If cookies go to other sites or are not temporary, they shouldn’t be trusted. You can also to set this feature to block all cookies that are sent to third parties, or simply block all cookies completely. A final option to consider is using cookie management software programs or services.
Must Read: Top 10 Social Media Networks for 2012
Real and Throw-away E-mail Accounts
If you post with unknown quantities: mailing lists, newsgroups or chat rooms, consider using a “throw-away” email account. You can pick yourself up an extra email address from Yahoo or Gmail and use it as a throw away account. Share your real account with those you trust. This won’t only protect your private information from falling into the hands of strangers, it will make managing your email a lot easier.
There are many other steps you can take to keep your private information from leaking outside your computer. You may also want to remember:
- Never reveal personal information to strangers or “friends” you’ve met online.
- Never use your personal email when dealing with mailing lists
- When at work you might be monitored. Be sensitive about what you disclose about yourself. Keep your personal, sensitive files on your home computer.
- Avoid sites that offer prizes or rewards for your personal contact information or details.
- Never reply to spam email – EVER!
- When possible use encryption.
The Internet has opened a Pandora’s Box of exciting new ventures and possibilities, but along with those beneficial opportunities are a host of possible negative results. Be careful and protect yourself and family while online.