Facebook. Google. LinkedIn.
The list of platforms that have recently been accused of using, manipulating, or sharing user data without explicit consent reads like a who's who of the internet. And whether it was your data that was unfortunately leaked or not, most can probably agree that there should be some way (or ways) for us to protect against these sort of leaks. (After all, every time an unauthorized party gets its hands on our data, we lose a little more control over what happens.)
Fortunately, by being smarter with the way we use the internet, we can indeed protect against many unforeseen risks of using the world's information highway. Here's three best practices to employ next time you're surfing the web!
Browse in private (or in incognito mode).
The private browsing feature available in the toolbar section of most internet browsing platforms can prove invaluable in making sure your viewing information stays safe and secure with the one person that needs to know about it: you. While one inconvenient feature of private browsing is that viewing history is not saved, the benefits from private browsing-- including cookie-free surfing, no memorization of passwords or login info, and a complete wipe of your browsing footprint-- far outweigh any downside. Private browsing is highly recommended on public computers, and it doesn't hurt to access accounts asking for your personal information on a private browsing setting either.
While using different passwords won't necessarily stop companies from being able to share your data, it will make it a lot more difficult for any bad guys to hack into your accounts via access they may gain through platform data leaks. By using different passwords across different accounts, even if the worst happens and one of your personal accounts is compromised, you won't have to worry so much about the rest. It might take a little more time to memorize more passwords, but it will certainly be worth it for peace of mind's sake.
Avoid risky, unsecured sites.
A few years ago, search behemoth Google penned a standard policy that required websites to be SSL-secured, or risk being flagged as unsecured when a visitor tried to access the site. While this policy worked in getting many companies to secure their websites with standard SSL data encryption protocol, not everyone played along. Even a few years later, there are still thousands of sites that are not secure, and present an extreme risk to the data and personal information of those who visit them. Avoid these sites by looking for the green lock icon on the left side of the address bar.
Data breaches and data leaks happen-- but that doesn't mean we can't be better prepared for them. With these simple tips, you can ensure you're doing what you can to keep your information safe!