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Safeguarding Your Personal Information

In 2021, more than 5-billion people were impacted by a reported 1,243 data breaches.

Take a moment to really think about that. Between 1,243 sources, the data of 5-billion people was exposed. That’s a hugely disproportionate number, and shows the real power that data brokers and private companies have over our personal information.

Needless to say, it’s becoming increasingly important to take steps to safeguard your data. Keep reading to learn how…

Controlling which apps can use your location

Some apps needlessly require your location. It’s good to check every once in a while to see what apps are using what permissions.

Why does that Fan app require your locations and access to your photos? 🤔

To check your phone’s location settings, use the following steps:

For most Android devices:

  1. Swipe your screen down
  2. Click on the “Settings” icon
  3. From the list, click on “Location”
  4. From here, you can see what apps are using your location and you’ll be able to adjust app permissions to control or prevent this

For most iOS devices:

  1. Click on “Settings”
  2. From the list, click on “Privacy”
  3. Next, click on “Location Services”
  4. From here, you can see which apps are using your location and adjust the permissions or stop location sharing

Switching to safer browsers to prevent tracking

With the explosion of awareness around digital privacy and the data for profit trade, several companies have created safer versions of the internet browser. These work by doing things like blocking third party ads and preventing cookies.

While there is no perfect browser, we’ve listed some better options below:

  • Brave is a free, privacy-centric Chromium browser designed with built in ad blockers and third party tracking prevention.
  • DuckDuckGo provides a secure browser that prevents consumer targeting from third party ads while offering privacy focused features that can be used across desktop and mobile devices.
  • Firefox by Mozilla is a free open-source browser providing a faster search experience complete with third party tracking protections.
  • Opera is another Chromium browser that offers an entire suite of features geared towards consumer privacy such as a VPN, ad blocker, and malware protection.
  • Ghostery is an open-source secure browser extension and app that offers ad blockers and tracking prevention for free, as well as more advanced features for a small fee.

Making changes to your cookie settings

Not all cookies are delicious. Online cookies allow websites and companies to track your browsing activity to amass data on user behavior and ad preferences.

Due to new privacy laws emerging from regulations such as the GDPR and California’s CCPA statute, tracking cookies now require opt-ins from people visiting websites.

When you go to a new site, you may have noticed a pop up banner that gives you the option to accept cookies, reject them (sometimes), or to change the cookie options in your browser. To avoid having to change options in Chrome mid-browsing:

  • Click on the three vertical dots on the top right corner of the search bar
  • Then, click “Settings” from the dropdown menu
  • From here, click on “Privacy and Security” on the left hand side
  • Next, click on “Cookies and other site data”
  • Once here, you’ll be able to adjust your cookie settings based on your preferences

Recognizing and avoiding phishing attempts

Phishing occurs when scammers use email or text messages to try and gain access to your personal information — generally for nefarious purposes.

They usually try to disguise these messages as legitimate correspondence from a trusted brand, legal notices, or even personal communications. If you’ve ever gotten an email from your bank that had poor grammar and didn’t look quite right, then you know exactly what we’re talking about.

You can avoid phishing attempts by:

  • Checking the sender address of all email communications against verified emails
  • Never sending sensitive information via email unless previously agreed upon (e.g., emailing a signed contract for a legitimate employment opportunity)
  • Looking for poor grammar in correspondence
  • Noticing poor quality images, off-center logos, and text formats that don’t match previous emails from a sender
  • Only opening attachments from senders you trust
  • Avoid clicking links in questionable emails and SMS messages
  • Never answering SMS messages from unknown numbers
  • Looking at websites like usa.gov for the latest scam alerts

Using apps designed to help protect your data

In addition to our other suggestions, there are a wide variety of apps designed to help you manage and protect your personal information.

You can use a VPN to disguise your location, download apps designed to fight off malware, use a strong password management tool, and enlist the help of child monitoring apps to make sure that your family’s data also stays secure.

At cloaked, we believe that your data should remain in your control online and offline.

Ready to take back control of your data?

Just follow us on Medium, send us some love on Facebook, and find us on Twitter under the username: @keepitcloaked

And make sure to click here to join our waitlist!

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