These days, people share a lot of personal information on the internet without really knowing it. Entering your email somewhere or sharing your birthdate might not seem like a huge deal at first, but when it can all be traced back to you and a profile can be compiled from random bits of data, it starts to get a little more worrying. In fact, if you contact any company that you have an online account with, you can actually ask them to give you the information they have on you and they need to comply. You can also install a VPN to help protect your information before it ends up on the dark web.
If you do request this, you might be a little concerned about all of the information that a company keeps. From all of your chat messages to your address, phone numbers, and even all of your different names, one could do some serious damage if that information was to be leaked–and that’s more common than you might think. Password leaks and data breaches aren’t uncommon these days, and while we can protect ourselves with two factor authentication and good security practices, they’re not guaranteed to work.
But the one thing you can and should do is be more mindful about the information you share on the internet. Here’s why and how you can do that.
It’s easy to overshare information thanks to social media
Social media can reveal a lot of information about you, especially if you aren’t being mindful about your personal data or privacy settings. For example, people on Facebook can search you up and then look at all of your relationships, photographs, friends, and more. They can then gather even more information on you through your friends to create a complete profile on you. In fact, if you like to share your life on social media then they could even create a timeline of where you are and at what time based on all of the location data from shared photographs.
While this might not be a concern for some people, it’s a huge deal for those who are worried about stalkers and other shady people. So if you want to be more careful about social media sharing, try and cut down on the amount of information you give out. Alternatively, lock your account down by switching on privacy settings that will protect you from suspicious people and potential stalkers.
Ask to be removed from online directories
There are a number of online directories that publicly list information such as accounts that your emails are connected to. While these can be used for good sometimes, they’re usually used for stalking purposes or to try and link your stolen passwords and emails with stores and services that you might use. This is for the purpose of gaining access to things such as your Amazon account to buy goods, or even your Netflix account so people can use it to watch films. They may even try to steal your account while leaving the payment information saved, thus leeching money out of your bank every month.
To do this, you can remove yourself from whitepages by getting in touch with the service or other online directories. This is usually the easiest way to do this and the directories need to comply. If you find that your email is listed on a number of websites, then ask them to remove it for you and you’ll have extra peace of mind.
Be careful about using public Wi-Fi
If you use a smartphone or laptop in public then you’ll know that free public Wi-Fi is an absolute blessing at times. However, you need to remember that public Wi-Fi networks can be a security risk, especially if they ask for a lot of information such as your name, address, and so on. If you’re going to use a public Wi-Fi connection, make sure you turn on any security settings on your devices so that the network has limited access to your data and information.
You should also be extra careful if the Wi-Fi network is asking for personal information. Depending on your location and the services you’ve signed up for, you may be able to access reliable public Wi-Fi from certain brands, or even services that are attached to your regular ISP. If you notice a shady Wi-Fi network that claims to offer free internet, then you should be extremely cautious that it’s not trying to steal your data. So unless you absolutely need internet access, we’d suggest shying away from public Wi-Fi when possible.
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