Whether you’ve experienced it first-hand or via the news, we’ve all heard the horror stories:

  • A phisher stole a neighbor’s identity and used it to rack up all kinds of debt.
  • A peeper snuck into some college kid’s laptop and hijacked their webcam.
  • A hacker tracked a local politician’s browser activity and used it to blackmail him.

We may spend much of our time on the internet alone, but the fact is that online actors are constantly acting to invade our privacy. That doesn’t just mean the techno-baddies we mentioned above; it includes “trusted” brands and networks like Apple, Google and Facebook.

In this post, we’ll offer you 5 simple things you can do right now to protect your privacy and ensure that what you do online stays between you and your web browser.

Choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP) Who Values Your Privacy

Here’s a disconcerting thought: your ISP is tracking every site you visit.

While there are tools you can use to minimize your ISP’s ability to see what you’re doing online, the better course is to simply choose a provider you can trust.

At Wander, we believe in privacy. That’s why we don’t store or sell our users’ browsing data. We believe that what you do on the internet is your business, and the right to privacy is a core value we refuse to compromise on.

Strengthen Your Login Credentials

Making sure you create a strong password for all your accounts—especially email—will minimize the ability for others to weasel their way into your personal information.

Here are a few guidelines to follow:

Weak Passwords…

  • can be found in the dictionary.
  • contain a repeated character or a series of characters (AAAAA or 12345).
  • utilize a keyboard series of characters (qwerty or poiuy).
  • use personal information (birthdays, names of pets, etc.).

Strong Passwords…

  • contain at least 8 characters.
  • use a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers.
  • include at least one special character, (! @ # ? ])

Strip Your Personal Data

When you sign up for anything online, keep the amount of personal data you share to an absolute minimum. Take the time to review your online profiles and accounts today. Remove your email address, birthday, phone number, etc. from everyone you can.

Opt Out

A surprising number of well-known websites and brands are gathering your personal information and selling it to their partners. Visit https://simpleoptout.com/ for a list of offenders along with instructions for opting out of these invasive marketing practices.

Look For a Better Browser

Google Chrome is notoriously bad when it comes to privacy. After switching for a week, Geoffrey Fowler “discovered 11,189 requests for tracker ‘cookies’ that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox.”

These cookies are “the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.”

If you care about your privacy, make sure your browser does too.

Conclusion

Personal data is a hot commodity. There are plenty of companies and individuals who’d like nothing more than to package up your information and sell it to the highest bidder. 

Don’t let them do it. Start with these 5 tips, and then stay vigilant.

To learn more about how much Wander values our users’ privacy, click here.

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