It is not just malware, spyware and adware one has to worry about. Each website tries its best to extract maximum possible data from each visitor. Each time you visit a website, it places a cookie on your computer that keeps track of your internet activities. Social networks can be just as bad and have tracking facilities.
If you use phones and tablets, your contact lists is an open book. Parting with some information is inevitable but it does not mean your computer is an open house. What to do when your personal information becomes publicly available online? In the first place, don’t let it get to that stage; get yourself privacy tools before you start surfing and have some degree of protection. Here is a compilation of popular tools that will help.
SafeShepherd wipes databases clean, especially on people search websites, like Intelius and Radaris, removing records and services that have no fax or mail request attached to them. Pay a subscription of $14 a month and enjoy thorough removal of records and access to a customer service rep.
This nifty app rates each website according to the way they handle a visitor’s personal data and their tracking methods, even to the extent that you know when they share data, with whom and what happens to data if you close your account. PrivacyScore rates websites that have Facebook app tools and Chrome extensions.
Download these browser extensions for Chrome, Safari or Firefox and you can block websites from tracking your web activities. Disconnect has anti-tracking tools for Twitter, Google and Facebook besides an informational tool, Collusion, that reveals who is exactly following your footsteps across cyberspace.
Hotspot Shield from AnchorFree
Hotspot Shield is a feature rich utility. It is a virtual private network and lets you browse anonymously. You benefit by secure connection to websites and are protected against malwares. If you use Wi-Fi hotspots and send out critical information, this is a must for you. Currently available for iOS, the free version is ad supported while the paid version is free of it and sets you back by a dollar a month.
This Firefox add on routes all traffic through proxy servers and gives you more protection from spam, viruses and tracking cookies that the browser’s private session. A free version has ads tagging along whereas, if you pay a subscription of $ 5 a month, you can have ad-free services
Tor keeps you anonymous online. The desktop version is the Tor Browser Bundle that bounces data through network relays and makes it hard for others to trace you. The Onion Browser is for iPhone and iPads and the Android app is called Orbot that works only in conjunction with Firefox for Android and the Proxy Mobile add-on you must download and install. If your android device is rooted, then you can use Orbot to create an anonymous shield for all data transmission. It does slow down things a bit but keeps you anonymous.
LBE Privacy Guard
Should you forget to tweak your setting to give you notification on information you download, LBE Privacy Guard is your mate. It has a permissions manager that displays all those other apps needing access to text, contacts, GPS data or just about any information. It works fine for most types of information on standard Android devices but if you have rooted the phone or tablet, you can go a step further and manage data that each app seeks to access.
If you know someone to whom you may have to send out personal data from time to time but are not sure if they are equally aware about privacy, use Burn Note. Burn Note sends self destructing messages (like in Mission Impossible..well almost) so you don’t have to worry about sensitive information languishing in someone else’s inboxes and than spied upon. It has comprehensive privacy policies integrated into the app.
This article was submitted by B. Lyttle, an online security and reputation expert. She recommends that you shouldn’t fear negative publicity online and use her reputation management advice to utilize social media for your advantage.