Protect The Information You Share Online

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May 21, 2020
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May 21, 2020

Protect The Information You Share Online

Information about you is stored throughout the internet. Some of it is information that you readily shared, and some of it is information that you didn’t even know was being collected. That data is valuable to hackers and you should protect your privacy in the online realm in whatever ways you can.

Protecting your privacy means limiting what you share online – voluntarily and involuntarily. But even if you’re being careful about what you volunteer online, you may be sharing sensitive information unintentionally.

If you are concerned about the privacy of your data, you don’t want to leave the default privacy settings in place. Those settings were created with the best interest of the company in mind which is not always the same as your best interest. Because of this, you should go into your accounts periodically and check your privacy settings.

What settings should you check?

Browser Settings

The browser that you use stores a variety of information about your actions, preferences, and even account information. Visit the settings on your browser to make sure that you are comfortable with all of the data that is being collected and who it is being shared with.  Some important browser collection settings are:

  • Microsoft Edge – collects your browsing history through the Diagnostics and Feedback setting on your computer (Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics and Feedback)
  • Google Chrome – ‘Make Searches And Browsing Better’ setting sends the URL’s you visit to Google (Note: You have to click ‘Advanced’ in the settings page to see the Privacy and Security section.)

Email Settings

Cyber Security Privacy Settings - Gray Analytics

Your email provider may be saving your search history or if you’re using a private email provider like Gmail, they may be saving much more than that.

  • Gmail users should perform a Privacy Checkup to ensure that they’re comfortable with all the information that Google is collecting. In particular, check to see if Location History is active. When turned on, this setting “will create a private map of where you go with your signed-in devices, including how long and how often you visit and how you travel between places, even when you aren’t using a specific Google service.” While that information is “only visible to you” if your account gets hacked that information is then visible to the hacker.
  • Users of Outlook can go to Options > Privacy Settings to opt-out of Optional Experiences data collection.
  • Office 365 users can visit the Security and Privacy section of their account to view any privacy options.

Social Media Settings

Social media accounts are a treasure trove for hackers because people freely share all kinds of personal data through status updates, pictures, and recorded milestones. But there are privacy concerns in the default settings of which you may not be aware.

  • Facebook offers a Privacy Checkup if you click the question mark at the top of every page. Make sure to also check the Apps and Websites that have access to your account.
  • Twitter may be tracking where you see its content across the web or sharing your data. You can check those settings in Settings > Privacy > Personalization and data.
  • Instagram has a setting to show your activity status to accounts who follow you and anyone you message. You can see if it’s turned on in Settings > Privacy and Security > Activity Status.

Everything Else

If you want to do more, Stay Safe Online has a page sharing direct links to the privacy settings for a variety of applications. You can visit their page to address your privacy concerns with other applications and websites. While you’re checking your privacy settings we suggest that you go ahead and turn on Multi-Factor Authentication as we talked about in a previous blog post to secure your data even more.