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Choose Privacy: Other Security Measures

Tips and best practices for maintaining personal privacy and online security

More reasons to care about privacy

Big Data is watching you logoThe personal information about you on the Internet can be used against you in many ways, including:

Anti-Virus & Malware scanners

These protect to a great extent, but are best at a full scan of your hard drive after it has been infected.

Free antivirus program for Windows and Mac; add-ons and upgrades available.

Spybot Search and Destroy:
Windows program against Malware and Spyware; home and business use.  

Malware Bytes Anti-Malware:
For home or business, Mac or Windows; Android mobile app also available to fight against Malware and Spyware.

Tips for Safeguarding your Digital Identity

  • Use current browser settings as web browser updates also include enhanced security measures
  • Clear your cache on a routine basis
  • Disable cookies to reduce unnecessary tracking of your web practices
  • Install malware/antivirus protection software
  • Use SSL encrypted websites when making purchases (https: OR padlock near the URL)
  • Reduce the number of places where you input your payment information by using a service like PayPal
  • Make your purchases from verified and reputable merchants
  • Provide the merchant with the minimum amount of information required for the transaction
  • Do not over-share your email address
  • Eliminate subscriptions to infrequently used websites, listservs, and distribution lists
  • Do not pay for any services/goods through email
  • Use apps offered directly by merchants or through trustworthy app stores
  • Purchase only from protected WiFi services. Public WiFi services are not always secure.
  • Avoid excessive clicking on ads, unrealistic news, great deals, etc. 
  • Review a site's policies prior to revealing information. Your information/data may be shared. 
  • Use an advertising blocking browser plugin/extension like Ad Block Plus.

Physical Security

Some of the best things in life are free.

Physical security, such as locking your office, car or apartment door is free. Critically  evaluating potential "social engineering" requests you get for personal information via email, phone calls or even directly from friends - is free. Taking your laptop with you when you leave your study table at the Library for lunch is also free.

Other aspects of physical security require a modest investment, such as buying a secure or encrypted USB drive on which to store your school work and private information. Consider this investment in light of how many hours you devoted to composing your term projects.

Did you know that every time you log into Gmail or Facebook, a copy of your contacts and friends list is left behind when you log out? Did you know it is possible to set up an email client, such as Mozilla's Thunderbird, from a USB drive so that no personal information is left behind on whatever computer you use?

The inconvenience you incur by de-selecting the option on Gmail and Facebook to "LEAVE ME LOGGED IN" or activating the geo-location feature on your phone only when you need it - is also free.

The greater level of personal privacy and freedom from aggressive marketing and potential loss of personal information - PRICELESS!

Avoid Phishing Scams

Be wary of hyperlinks and email attachments.

Never give out your personal information when it is requested via email. Your bank, credit card company, employer, college, etc. already know that stuff so why would they ask you to provide it?

Keep your anti-virus software up to date.

Learn more at the Department for Homeland Security's cyber tip pages: Protect Against Phishing Attacks and Common Scams.