When was the last time someone hacked into one of your online social media profiles? Your e-mail? A different online account? It’s not uncommon for search engines to take information from people and use it to build a profile of its users. For example, all it would take is an email address or account with a particular website and *POOF*! Suddenly, you’re being monitored. However, while some of it is harmless, there are other people out there who will use the information that they find out about you to do bad things (i.e. hack into your profiles, etc.). To this end, the following are a few quick tips for protecting yourself while surfing the web:
- Automatic Logins- Although they can be incredibly convenient, it’s probably for the best if you leave this box unchecked the next time a website prompts you to “remember you” for the next time you login. If anything, give your brain a little exercise by trying to remember your own password without the computer’s help.
- History- Always make sure to clear your history of the sites that you’ve visited at the end of each day. Doing so will help prevent others from seeing what sites you were on.
- IP Address- Your IP address is like a personal stamp telling others who you are. If you’re really concerned about someone tracking your online trails, you can always invest in software to help prevent this from happening. Software such as Mask My IP (MMIP), or Anonymous IP may help.
- Cookies- Everyone loves cookies; but when it comes to the Internet, cookies can be a bad thing as they often allow websites and/or marketers to create a profile of you based on the information you have provided and your browsing patterns. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that when you clear your history, you also clear your cookies as well.
- Auto Complete– Again, this is a really helpful tool (especially when you can’t remember the full name of something you’re looking up). However, when you have auto complete as well as automatically saved logins, then you have a recipe for disaster. Make sure you change the settings on your computer to turn this feature off!