10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy Online


| | | Share

As you read e-mail, check your stock portfolio, post a status update on Facebook and consult weather sites to keep an eye on that storm headed your way, you leave invisible tracks on the Internet. How can you protect your personal information from being misused? The simple answer: Be smart!

PerfectSpeed Protects Your Privacy

PerfectSpeed® helps protect your privacy by erasing traces of your activities on your computer. It also speeds up your PC by getting rid of clutter and recovering disk space. You can try it free for 30 days*, then it's only $4.99 per month.


• Helps protect your privacy
• Optimizes your disk drive to run more efficiently
• Fixes broken, cluttered registries
• Works with Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2000



Click here to find out more,
Or scroll down to get details

The Center for Democracy and Technology has developed tips for protecting your privacy online. Some are easy, some are just common sense and some will involve a bit of work.

1. Learn how to read online privacy policies. Almost every Web site -- from Amazon to YouTube -- silently records what you are doing. Web sites can collect information without your knowledge, such as what kind of hardware and software you are using or the address your ISP has assigned to you. Some Web sites plant a "cookie" on your computer to identify your machine and keep track of your activity. That said, those same Web sites have privacy policies that describe the kind of information that is collected, stored and used, as well as with whom it is shared. But just because a site has a privacy policy doesn't mean it's protecting your privacy. Often buried in the fine print are broad statements about how your information could be disclosed to third parties.

2. Opt out and use any other privacy options offered. Pay attention to the privacy options Web sites offer, including the ability to opt out of the lists that share your information. While some companies make it easy by asking your permission to opt in before sharing any information they collect, too many do just the opposite and then make it difficult to opt out.

3. Get a separate account for your personal e-mail. Keep your work and personal e-mail separate. Why? Your boss has the legal right to read your work e-mail correspondence, as well as any personal information you may have stored on your personal work computer.

Mother and teenaged daughter at the computer 4. Teach your children not to give out personal information online without your permission. While federal law prohibits companies from collecting personal information from children under 13, there are some Web sites that violate or skirt the law. Take the time to impress upon your children how important it is they ask your permission before they give out their name, address or other information about themselves or their family. Make sure your teenagers who use Facebook and MySpace have privacy settings that allow only their real friends to see their information.

5. Be careful when using social networking sites and picture/video sharing sites. If you use a picture or video-sharing site to share photos with friends and relatives, pay attention to the privacy settings to be sure you are not sharing photos with strangers, especially photos of your children.

6. Learn about and then use the privacy features in your browser. Whether you use Internet Explorer, Safari, Camino, Firefox or Chrome, there are a variety of tools and plug-ins available to help protect your privacy and the security of the information you use on the Internet. Take the time to learn about these features so you can better control the planting of "cookies" on your computer, as well as identify insecure or fraudulent sites before you visit them. If you use a computer in a library or other public place, clear your browser history and memory cache when you are finished. Depending on the specific browser, you can delete cached images from the "Preferences" menu or the "Tools" menu.

Woman shopping online 7. Make sure that online transactions are secure. Most e-commerce sites have a secure way to receive your credit card information. In most cases, the address for a secure Web site will start with "https." The "s" indicates it is secure. In addition, most browsers display a small picture of a lock to indicate the site is secure. Just because the site has both these features doesn't mean it is legitimate. The company running it could be fraudulent or the Web site may be a fake.

8. Learn how to spot phishing and other scams. Before giving out personal information online, know who you're dealing with. You have to be especially careful because fraudsters create Web sites that look like those of legitimate businesses, trying to get you to enter information. "Phishing" is a scam designed to steal your personal information under false pretenses, usually by tricking you into disclosing personal information, such as credit card numbers, your Social Security number and account passwords. Some clues of fraud:

• If an e-mail address that purports to be from a bank or business headquartered in the United States ends with .cn or any other country code, it is not legitimate.
• Messages marked "Urgent" are usually fraudulent.
• Many fake sites will place a picture of a fake lock icon on their site. Make sure the secure lock icon is in the browser frame and not inside the browser window.

9. Reject or delete unnecessary cookies. Cookies are small bits of computer code planted on your computer by most of the Web sites you visit. They allow Web sites to collect and store information about your online activity and to recognize your computer when you return again or visit an affiliated site. For example, if you signed up to a Web site and obtained a user name and password, cookies remember that information for you. Consult your browser's Help section to find out how to delete unnecessary or unwanted cookies.

10. Safeguard important files and communications. Secure your laptop, your phone and other portable devices with a strong password that cannot be guessed easily by someone who knows your name. Never use family names or birthdates as passwords. Keep your important files out of any shared or public folders. In situations where there is a particular need for security, you should use encryption.

(Source: The Center for Democracy and Technology)

Downloads From AOL

ID Vault

Get complete protection from fraud and identity theft for your online accounts. ID Vault creates a direct and secure connection to your financial, shopping or any other password-protected online accounts, protecting you from hackers and fraud.

McAfee® VirusScan Plus -- Special Edition from AOL®

Download this comprehensive set of safety tools, providing protection against viruses and spyware, and a firewall to help keep hackers out.

SafeCentral

Transact online with peace of mind, locking out malicious predators or Trojans that may have snuck by your anti-virus/spyware software.

SafeCentral’s secure browser intercepts and blocks key-loggers, screen-scrapers and other malware agents, allowing only your legitimate transactions to occur.

Search and Recover™

Rescue accidentally deleted files, such as photos, MP3s, and more, helping you recover critical work and cherished memories you thought were gone forever.


Also See...


Top 10 Passwords You Should Never Use

If you chose an easy-to-remember password, such as your user name or even the word "password," we advise you to change it right away. Easily guessed passwords can compromise your personal identity, privacy and financial accounts.

Easy Steps to Improve Your PC's Performance

Unless your computer is fresh out of the box, it's probably not running as fast as it used to. Much like oil changes for your car, a little periodic maintenance can help extend your computer's lifespan.

*To avoid being charged the recurring subscription fee, simply cancel before the free-trial period ends.

By clicking "try it now", you are agreeing as follows:

• You agree to our Terms and Conditions. Also, each product may be subject to additional terms required by the product's vendor, which you can review on this page.

Payment Terms: You agree that we may charge your payment method for the fee(s) stated above, plus any taxes and fees, until you revoke this consent or cancel your subscriptions(s). Subscription fees are charged at the beginning of each subscription period. Price does not include taxes or fees (if any). If your offer includes a free trial, there is one free trial per customer per product, and the free trial begins immediately. To avoid the recurring subscription fee, simply cancel before the free trial period ends.

• We may provide you with important information online or by e-mail.

Discover AOL provides information about AOL's many products and services, including computer tech support (AOL TechGuru), free software (AOL Desktop 9.7, AOL Desktop for Mac, AIM), Safety and Security tools (McAfee® VirusScan® Plus -- Special edition from AOL) and free services like Video, Radio, Email, Instant Messaging and Parental Controls. Check out AOL A-Z for a full, alphabetical directory of everything on AOL.