We live connected and we are used to sharing everything – after all, millennials invented the amazing sharing economy. Yet, there are many dangers we are exposing ourselves to – with a simple share. The internet is amazing, but what appears on the internet, stays on the internet.
In other words, do you remember that time when you were showing off how crazy you were? Well, the internet allows your potential new boss to admire the pictures of you while dancing on the bar in a tiny swimsuit. This might be leaving you without a new job, but there are hackers out there who can leave you without your identity! Not to mention all the stalkers who are now drooling over your pictures!
In order to stay safe online, you need to filter who gets to see what from your posts. I wish this article could answer the question of how to stay anonymous online, or at least, give you as much information as possible.
Start with social media and your blog
Where do we post frequently? On our social media accounts and on our blogs! This means those accounts are most prone to being hacked. Social media platforms also collect vast amounts of data on you, your shopping habits, viewing habits, profile, whom you connect with. All those “Free” apps are not free at all – they are gathering marketing information about you, then they sell it to other companies or use it for their own products, which is a huge danger for your online safety.
In order to prevent hacks and information gathering, update your privacy settings on regular intervals. Most social media sites provide various settings to make your account undetectable, but they also update their policies very frequently. What most people forget about are their picture platforms and their blogs. Flickr, for example, can provide a nice back door for hackers, so you need to adjust the privacy settings on those accounts as well.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that most social media platforms track your location by default, which can let everyone know where you are at a certain moment. Disable this feature, in order to preserve your privacy.
Be a little narcissistic
Have you ever googled your name? If not, you should be doing it as soon as possible. What you can see when you search your own name on the internet can be seen by anyone else. The good news is you can probably work on removing anything you don’t want to be seen by others. Google offers you the option to fill a form and ask for the site where you’ve found the sensitive content about you to be deleted. If the person or site where the content you don’t want online doesn’t remove your information, you can ask Google to do it for you.
Here is an advanced tip: if you want to use the internet to your advantage and direct people who look up your name towards certain information, use your blog and specific SEO tools to market yourself. You can register as a Google Author and link your social media accounts to your blog, especially your Google+ page, so when you post something new on the blog, it will show up when someone looks up your name.
Use the latest tools available
Your online safety requires lots of privacy check-ups and some smart tools. There are apps which can let you know when someone you don’t want to see is around. There are apps and softwares that keep your location and IP secret while browsing.
Cookies are a serious issue these days, as websites are looking to be more informed about where their potential customers are, and how to interact with them. Not only do sites collect data about your Internet habits but they use that data to send you adverts. To avoid this, use the incognito mode on your browser, it doesn’t save your history and will delete any cookies that attached themselves during your visit to their website. Deleting your cookie cache regularly from your computers will also help maintain your privacy.
Be aware that incognito mode disables extensions, so using it prevents sites such as Google, Facebook and other sites that track your internet movement using cookies from following you onto incognito. But be aware this is not a panacea for anonymity as your employers, your web server and some of the sites you visit can still track you. Using this mode when on an unfamiliar computer is the sensible option so you do not leave your digital footstep in an unfamiliar place.