Tips for Safeguarding Your Privacy and Identity

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by Barbara J. Feldman on June 29, 2007

The Internet provides a great way to network with other people. It also provides a great way to do business. Unfortunately, this great tool can also be used to put you and your identity at risk. There are things that you can do to keep your identity and personal information safe.
• You can make sure you only enter personal information onto secure sites. Look for the little yellow lock at the bottom of the page to see if you are on a secure site or not. Secure sites do not open you up to viruses, spyware, or even pop-ups.
• You can be careful about what you post. Do not post information that a person could use to locate you. Don’t post your pictures publicly or give private information about yourself or your family.
• You can use anti-virus software to block attempts to load viruses and spyware onto your computer. Most commercial anti-virus packages include anti-spyware and pop-up blockers as well.
• If you are using anti-virus software, install the updates constantly. Good anti-virus programs are constantly changing because the viruses are constantly changing. It is important that when updates are available you click on “install” on the pop-up window that tells you about them.
• You should always log off of computers when you are finished using them. Sometimes if you are in a hurry it seems like it takes too much time to log off. It doesn’t take nearly as much time as it does to reclaim your identity if someone steals it.
• You can password protect your personal computer and all of your personal sites. Change your password often and don’t let anybody know your password or your username.
• Never accept the offer to “remember your password”. You don’t want your passwords stored electronically. This is a very easy way for someone to hack into your stuff because if they have your username and your password, the computer will think they are you.

• Delete your browser history regularly. You should click on tools and then Internet option to do this. When you click on delete user history, you will have a choice of deleting a number of things. You definitely want to get rid of “cookies”. Those are programs that let someone spy on your computer. It’s also a good idea to delete “form data”. This is the record of al the things that you typed into a form.
• Don’t download programs onto your computer. Video games are a really popular way to get spyware downloaded onto your computer. Once you have spyware all the files on your computer can be opened by spies.
• Don’t use file sharing software. If you want to share files with friends do it through email attachments. Once you download file sharing software onto your computer you have breached your own security. File sharing programs are open invitations for other people to make a copy of your files.
• Use firewall protection if you have a high-speed Internet connection. These computers stay online 24 hours a day and need special protection. Firewalls stop people from hacking into your computer while it’s off and stealing your personal information.
• Before you get rid of an old computer get rid of all personal information. This is hard to do, if not impossible, by hand. You need to get a program such as “wipe”, which is used to overwrite the entire hard drive.
• Finally, don’t store personal information on a lap top computer. This is one of the number one stolen items. You don’t want some thief to have your personal information. Do you?


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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Tips for Safeguarding Your Privacy and Identity." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 29 Jun. 2007. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1055/tips-for-safeguarding-your-privacy-and-identity/ >.