There is no practicable way of using the internet without leaving some kind of digital footprint. However, there are ways to minimise the amount of data you leave behind – to maintain some privacy but also protect yourself from scammers. Here are five quick and easy solutions.
1. Use a separate password manager
The password managers built in to modern browsers provide an easy way to store the many hundreds of login credentials you use around the web. Whilst they allow you to more easily mix it up and not re-use passwords, they’re not as secure as some may think. Currently, many of these tools simply store your login details on your device, unencrypted. Separate plugins or extensions with more encryption will keep you much safer.
2. Delete cookies and history
It’s good policy to intermittently delete browser history and cookies – especially third-party ones. Make it a routine so you don’t forget, or even use a private browser where possible, as this deletes all history and cookies at the end of your session.
3. Consider an alternative to Google
Google has become so ubiquitous it has even become a verb. This success is built on a good product; one built on tracking users to provide them with personalised results. If this doesn’t sit well, or you’re looking for a more anonymous alternative, search engines like DuckDuckGo provide a remarkably similar service without the tracking.
4. Block pop-ups
Pop-ups are nearly always a source of frustration, getting in the way of what you actually want to do. More than that, though, they can also download files to your computer or install programmes secretly in the background. Going into your browser settings and disabling pop-ups will banish them for good.
5. Consider paying for solutions
Always remember: if a service is free, you’re what’s being sold. Your data is valuable to companies and is often the reason why many products can be offered free of charge. Solutions that don’t harvest data won’t have that same revenue stream, so are more likely to require an up-front cost. Don’t dismiss these out of hand for free alternative, because in doing so, rather than keeping your data under wraps, you may simply be channelling it somewhere else.