An article recently published by CNNMoney, “How Google Keeps your Secrets Private” found that many people were concerned about online privacy, and in order to address the issue they spoke with Google’s recently appointed privacy director, Alma Whitten. During her time with Google she has implemented what she refers to as “a culture of privacy”. “Instead of 70 policies across each of its products — search, maps, Gmail, etc. — Google will consolidate most of them into a single, shorter, privacy agreement.” This privacy agreement will ensure your safety when using Google.
Whether you’re Googling an answer to a trivia question, researching a medical condition, or on a mission to prove the know-it-all best friend wrong for once, we all have a right to privacy and it is reassuring to see that companies such as Google are working so hard to make sure that right is maintained. With that said, there are websites that are not as secure with their information, so it is imperative that you are always cautious on the internet. Here are few data loss prevention tips to keep in mind when surfing the web:
- Be aware of what you share online. Avoid sharing your phone number, address, date of birth, password, etc… Also, try to avoid sharing your email address on web sites. One tip, create a secondary address you only use to register for sites. Don’t use this secondary address for real, personal email.
- Check and configure the privacy settings on the sites you visit. Often, big websites that store your data have privacy settings and options you can configure. For instance, Google, Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter all have privacy settings you can adjust to some degree. Do so. In fact, many of the default settings these websites choose (Facebook) are not the most private.
- Clear your browser cache regularly. Every web browser has a mechanism to clear its cache, which also can clear any saved content that may contain private data (cookies, web history, etc). If you use a kiosk or friends computer to browse, you should manually clean the browser’s cache. Check with your browser of choice to see how. Also, Piriform offers a free tool called Cleaner, which will automatically clean all the private data for all browsers, as well as many other Windows programs. You can even set this program to clean your computer on a scheduled basis, or upon boot.
- Use your browser’s privacy mode. Most browsers have a “private browsing“ mode. In this mode, the browser will not store any date about your web browsing history. If you are really worried about your browsing, you can leverage these modes.
- Try Tor. For the extremely paranoid, Tor is an anonymizer, which hides your communications behind an anonymous network. If you really don’t want web sites to know who you are, or where you come from, try Tor.