Privacy is the precursor to solid security. The less information you disclose, the less points of access predators and collectors have to breach your personal or business data. Online vulnerabilities discreetly display your personal information and habits, as well as the strategic plans, intellectual property and/or proprietary information of the corporations you represent.
(Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster)
While surfing, you are invaded by organizations and businesses that crawl cyberspace collecting information from public records (birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates, mortgages, registration of companies, vehicles, etc.). These businesses, about 22 or more, profit from collecting, packaging and disclosing your personal information without your permission. In cyberspace, privacy can be compromised in three ways:
- Voluntarily when you disclosed your information
- Involuntarily and without your knowledge when companies compile publicly available and personal information, and then offer that in one package to anyone with access to online services
- Voluntarily when you use an unprotected internet browser
How do I prevent companies from collecting my information?
Habits are difficult to break. Right now, you probably use one browser. That must change. Diversify how and what you surf into two different browsers. We recommend two internet browsers, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Both browsers with proper settings can greatly reduce your signature on the internet.
Use Google Chrome to access sites that require username and password, such as your personal or work email platform, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Use Mozilla Firefox for recreational/research surfing. Use Firefox to surf topic of interests, read competitor websites, news, blogs of interest, and so on. Mozilla Firefox has features to keep intruders from collecting and selling your Internet surfing habits and data.
Go to Settings and click on Show Advanced Settings. Then, ensure that you have a check mark on the following settings:
- Select Preferences
- Select Advanced Settings
- Scroll to Privacy
- Click on “Content Settings”
- Scroll to Cookies
- Check “Keep local data until quite”
- Check “Block third party cookies and site data”
- Scroll to Location
- Select “Do not allow site to track your physical location”
- Scroll to Automatic Downloads
- Select “Do not allow any site to download multiple files”
- Back to Privacy
- Select option 5, phishing and malware protection
- Selection option 8, “Do not track”
- Password and forms — Make sure that you are not enabling the saving and remembering of passwords
- Downloads — Check “ask where to save each file before downloading”
Go to Tools, then Options in the PC or Preferences in Mac:
- Under the General tab, select Use Blank as Homepage and ensure that there isn’t a url listed in the field.
- Place a check mark in “Always ask me where to save files.”
- Go to Privacy tab, and place a check mark on “tell websites I do not want to be tracked,” select the option “Never remember history,” and on the Location Bar, select either nothing or Bookmarks.
- Go to the Security tab, and place a check mark on “Warn me when sites try to install add-ins,” “Block reported attack sites,” and “Block reported web forgeries.”
- Do not ask your browser to remember passwords or use a master password.
- Go to Tools/Add-ons. A new window pops up. Go to Get Add-ons and in the search field type the following add-ons, and follow the prompts for installation: AdBlock Plus; Ghostery; NoScript; and DoNotTrackPlus.
Keeping your surfing private requires a combination of behavior and technology. The steps you performed above are just the tip of the iceberg of the process needed to guard your privacy and security. If you read my book you can continue to receive guidance on how to better protect your privacy and security.
This article is written and provided by Clint Emerson. Clint, a retired Navy SEAL, spent twenty years conducting special ops all over the world while attached to SEAL Teams (including the elite SEAL Team SIX) and the National Security Agency (NSA). Utilizing an array of practical skills he developed to protect himself while at home and abroad, he created Violent Nomad — a personal, non-kinetic capture/kill program cataloging the skills necessary to defend against any predator or crisis. His Zero Trace line of security and survival products are currently rolling out nationwide.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.