Why Care About Online Privacy (If You’ve Got Nothing To Hide)

It seems as though the more we prosper the more privacy we sacrifice. Nowadays, your social networks know everything about you and the world doesn’t seem to care much about this intrusion. If your privacy is something you’re lenient with or if you belong to the group who think that the breach of privacy is something serious, or among the people who think protecting their privacy is a big deal, this article will help you understand just why you need to guard your confidentiality and also help you dispel a few myths about the thing that have probably been nagging your mind.
Alarm: Your data is valuable stuff:
People usually don’t think that their information is very important because after all, why would organizations buy the bio-data of an insignificant, common man? Well, that’s just the thing. If multinationals are willing to pay for your information, there has to be a very good reason for it. This doesn’t only mean your basic information but everything from your date of birth to your quirky little buying habits, it’s all important.
Usually when someone asks for your information, they assure you that it’ll be taken ‘anonymously’ and treated as such too. Now while the gatherer may be anonymous, your information is inevitably traced right back to your individual self later on. This is the primary reason why big companies discourage consumers from opting out of behavioral marketing. Your information has real, tangible value and sells for a lot of money. For example, for Facebook, you are worth just short of 5 Dollars a year even if you don’t open your wallet for them once.
This leads some people to believe that privacy is essentially nonexistent now but that’s not the case either. People are very concerned about the information they hand out. Even people who have already given out their private information are now very concerned about what is happening to it. They are gaining more awareness of their information day by day without wanting to black out all their information for free services. They just want to keep control over it and want to know what happens to it once it’s dished out.
Who’s More Dangerous: The Government or Businesses?
This question has been asked time and time again but there’s still no concrete answer to it.
The Government:
Usually it’s assumed that when you sign up for a Web site, your information is given to them and kept by them only. However, it’s not as simple as that. Truth is that even a simple FOIA request by the DEA and IRS are enough to get information about you from companies like Twitter and Facebook.
It is a common belief that the information you give is simply filtered by the government to catch criminals. But that’s not the only truth again, the government needs only to send a request for information and the company gives out information about you, your friends, your family and common interests even if you have a clean rap sheet.
Businesses:
If you thought that the government was bad, get a load of this. The government has to provide some level of transparency in order to fulfill lawful requirements. Businesses aren’t bound as such; private companies are free from these bindings by the privacy act of 1974. Once you give them your information, there’s no telling how far it’ll go to be used. Some companies even reserve the right to sell your information while a state, in their terms of service that they will use your information for sharing with their strategic partners, which is essentially the same thing without the cash involved.
One small comfort people have is in that the information they give isn’t personally identifiable. However, that too isn’t completely accurate. The fact is that not enough people ask themselves if the information they’re clicking ‘ok’ to is still their property later on or not. To put it simply, it isn’t. Once you click on that ‘I accept’ to the terms of service you didn’t read, you give away your information and it isn’t coming back even if you want to modify it later on.
However, this game runs both sides of the board because you have every right to your information and can ask about how it’s being used. You have complete right to ask where your information is being kept and if it’s secure or not. This is such an issue that even the Whitehouse has been taking measures to ensure that the consumer gets SOME privacy. This has proved to be a good first step but it’s still just that: “The first step”.
Even if you are perfectly comfortable about dishing your information, you must realize that others aren’t. This calls for consumer awareness. You have a right to privacy and even if not for yourself, you need to demand it for someone who needs it more than you.
Demand your privacy. Read terms of services carefully and be responsible about the information you give and how it’s handled.
Prevent Business Organizations from Intruding Your Online Privacy:
We live in a world where privacy has become a rare commodity. With the rising popularity of social networks, it has become increasingly tricky to regulate your virtual presence and control the amount of information you share with others. As the virtual media has become really vast, it is difficult to ensure 100% privacy, but there are methods through which you can ensure maximum safety. The most important wax-on of internet security is to have the latest Antivirus and firewall to ensure none of the parasites in cyberspace chew up your computer system. The following points, will give the readers a better understanding of the dangers involved in giving away your personal information to a website without taking adequate precautions. For those who don’t know what safety measures are to be taken, this page is the right one to be on.
Increase the Privacy of Your Internet Browser
Your browser acts as a medium for you to access other websites. It is useful but that is how most of the viruses make way to your computer. This is why it is vital that you tweak your privacy settings on your browser first. Make sure all the websites that you access, are safe for browsing and do not require any information that is strictly confidential and sensitive such as credit card details, personal contact and/or location. Having taken care of these things you can now move on to the next step. Using search engines that won’t save any of your searches that will definitely control the amount cache that gets piled up and as a result slows down your computer.
Put on some extensions
Once you have made the necessary changes to the privacy of your internet browser, you also have the option of adding certain extensions that will further enhance your presence on the cyberspace. Use extensions that will sift spam advertisements. Secure your connection by just using HTTPS, which automatically encrypts your information for other websites. These days there are many password management extensions which ensure that the user changes their password often, create strong passwords and protects people from password theft. Moreover, users can also go for other extensions like Do-Not-Track-Me which prevent third-party agencies from tracking and accessing all the websites that have been visited on your computer. Download extensions to manage your cookies and try to keep your cache clean as much as possible.
Once you have all these things out on your checklist to achieve internet security, your next step comes to protecting your social media presence. Make sure that you associate with people who are legitimate and trustworthy online and do not hand out personal information to any person that bumps into you in the virtual sphere. Tweak your Facebook and Twitter settings to protect your identity and personal data. Given the current circumstances where many whistleblowers have showed us all how vulnerable we are on the internet, these are only some of the measures you can take in order to protect yourself. Though it is not foolproof, but will definitely back you up wherever and whenever it can.
An intro to Info Hackers and some precautions to consider:
The aforementioned threats are of the higher level, there are still the regular hackers who tend to peak on important personals, like credit cards, and then exploit that information to satisfy personal motives. Issues with real stalkers have always been a threat but the preoccupation of internet has made the confidentiality problems much more superficial by exposing them to the virtual scythes. However, technology is not to be blamed for this matter but the sick people who collect and misuse information about individuals are the real culprits. This concern has led many to think about the ways to protect their personal information. If you are one of those, following are a few tips for you to secure your personal data efficiently:
GPS and Wi-Fi:
GPS and Wi-Fi can be considered doors to the data you want to protect. So an easy way is to shut those, specifically when unwanted strangers are not to be welcomed.
GPS: Leaving the GPS enabled when it is not in use can easily broadcast locality to a number of people like app developers or cell phone providers. Carrying a smart device that has GPS empowered can reveal even more specific locality; it is a simple tactic to deactivate GPS when it is not being used.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi can be used to access information on your device like phone numbers, pictures, browsing history hence it works exactly like the GPS. Installing power managing apps will disconnect Wi-Fi automatically when the screen goes dark and save you the trouble of doing it yourself again and again.
Date of Birth and Telephone number:
The way out from this security threat is to simply avoid disclosing accurate date of birth as it can be used for verification; same is the case with telephone numbers. It is vital to only provide these specifics correctly when they are to be used with credible organizations and not the random ones.
Safety Check:
One can never know who to trust, what the true identity of people is and whether the site you are surfing is safe or not. The best an individual can do is not to reveal any personal identifiable information on site that cannot be relied upon. Your name, email address, credit card number etc. are included in this category.
Shop with Security:
Firstly, it is significant to only shop at reputed stores, to dodge the shady ones that are there only to trap unaware shoppers. The next thing to consider is whether the trusted store you are shopping at regards security as the topmost priority; this can be confirmed by simply investigating into the kind of technology they use. All you have to do is ensure that the store has the following:
“Https” before its web address; the “s” is actually the essence.
Go carefully through the checkout page to see if it verifies that the page is secured by professional safety technology vendors and if it has the tiny lock padded symbol at the bottom right corner.
The Phishing Snare:
Phishing is one of the most common weapons hackers use. In fact, even you can create a phishing page after watching a couple of tutorials on YouTube. Basically, these pages act as a clone of real login pages and once people log into them, they indirectly send their login information to the hacker/creator of the site. They are generally sent via emails faking to be the original business organizations hence it is easy to identify them. Here again the “HTTPS” rule applies while another useful point to keep in mind is to always login to the original site instead of trusting the received hyperlinks.
All in all, there will always be the bad guys hence precautions are to be always taken to guard ourselves. There are virtual laws too, which will be covered in another article; they are the last steps we take in case of rare and damaging intrusion. The information provided in this article is a general introduction to aware the readers about how the people they are exposed to. By simply practicing these safety measures, everyone can be sure not to make a silly mistake from their end.

Protect Your Gadgets from Your Kids

 

kids-gadgetsDo you have children in your house and you want to keep them away from your gadgets? Or your nephews are visiting you quite often? It is already known that smartphones, tablets, computers, and any other devices of that kind are simply irresistible for kids, no matter their age. They are not a simple toy; kids can learn a lot by using a computer, so you shouldn’t forbid them access to this kind of devices, just try to keep them safe.

Nowadays, kids are growing up surrounded by such gadgets and they become more tech-savvy day by day. They want to touch everything, to test any gadget, to play with every device. However, most of these devices are quite expensive, and children do not pay attention to it. Also, the Internet offers the possibility to access hundreds of thousands websites, and not all of them are appropriate for kids.

So what is the solution in this case? How can you let your kid use your tablet or computer, and still keeping it safe? A parental control app is the answer you are looking for – it is easy to set up, and it protects your devices from any disaster.

Protect you gadgets from kids

You know that children simply cannot resist computers, tablets, and smartphones. But that is not necessarily good, because they enjoy pushing all the buttons, smearing the screens, and sometimes, even dropping them. That is why, when you think about the protection of your gadgets, you need to start with the hardware.

Protecting a smartphone or a tablet is quite easy nowadays. You can buy a shock absorbing case. Its price starts from $35, but it can go up, depending on your preferences. This case really works and it will protect your tablet even if it is thrown on the floor. You can find such case for smartphones as well. Another popular thing is screen protection. They are a must when you have kids in your house playing with your gadgets. Buy a screen protection before children will find a way to scratch the screen. Also, the screen protection will cover all the fingerprints.

The good news is that you can use screen protectors and case also for your laptop. For example, a satin case for a Mac has the starting price at $37. Furthermore, you can find many other skins and covers if you want to make sure your laptop or screen will be safe, even if a kid is playing with it. But not matter the screen protector you use, you will still need to clean your laptop regularly, if a kid has access to it. For example, you can always hide your desktop’s keyboard behind the monitor, if you want it to be safe and keep kids away from your computer. Another solution is to use a special utility program, like Toddle Keys; it will lock the power button, the keyboard, and the mouse to protect your desktop from children.

And that is not all. With your laptop especially, you need to make sure it is placed on a stabled surface. For example, a laptop on the bed is not a safe solution because kids love to bounce and jump; it will definitely break one way or another.

The safest solution is to buy a special laptop for the kid. You can find dedicated child-friendly laptops that are something between a toy and a computer, or you can choose an old desktop or laptop, or a very cheap tablet and give it to your kids. Then, they can do whatever they want with it. Think about it as a warranty for your own gadgets.

What about built-in parental controls?

If you want to protect your gadgets from your kids, you need to go further than the hardware. Let’s say your device is safely placed on a desk; it has a protection screen, a case, and everything it needs. The kid could still damage it and actually, messing the system is as serious as breaking the device. From infecting your computer or tablet with different types of malware or viruses, to changing your normal setting or deleting applications, it all could happen. Luckily, some of the latest devices have already a built-in parental control. If yours doesn’t have it, you can simply install one. Also, you will need to change some security options, in order to protect all your data.

So, are you curious how to setup a parental control on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet? Here you have some simple instructions:

Windows – With the new Windows 7 and 8 Parental Controls you can do a lot of things, like setting up time limits, give access to specific applications and games, and even block some programs or websites. To access it, you will need to go to Start – Control Panel – User Accounts and Family Safety. Choose Set up parental controls for any users. For websites restrictions and online activity, Microsoft has another option: Windows Live Family Safety. It allows you to block and control web access.

Mac – Comparing with Windows’ Parental Control, OS X’s same program is more powerful. Go to System – Parental Control, and set the limits, including email and messages limits, block applications and programs, and restrict web access.

iOS – To restrict different numbers or application on iPhone, iPad, or iPod, go to Settings – General Restrictions. You will notice these settings request a four digit passcode. A good idea is to restrict to delete or install of different apps. If you have the new iOS 6, you will notice a cool feature called Guided Access, where you can add new users like “kid” or “guest”. They will be able to access only the applications you want.

Android – Unfortunately, Android doesn’t have a built-in parental control. Some devices, like Sony Xperia Android table, have their own “guest” mode. On the other hand, you can always search and install special apps in order to protect your phone from your kids. The market is full of them; you just need to pick one that suits your needs.

Kindle – Kindle Fire just released the new Kindle parental control, Kindle FreeTime. It allows you to set any time limits you want, and to restrict the usage of different apps. You can also create different users’ profiles, according to the people who are using your device.

Are third-party apps a solution?

If your gadgets do not have a built-in parental control, or you think that it is not enough, you can always download and install third-party applications. Usually, they have more features than the traditional parental control programs, so you can add more restrictions and feel safer.

Let’s say, for example, your iOS device jailbroken. If you have an iPhone or an iPad, simply setup more users on the jailbroken. For Windows users, we recommend Returnil System Safe, with is a free app that will clone your system. All the changes you will make will be removed after you restart your computer.

Protecting your devices from your kids is sometimes not enough. You also need to protect your kids from the internet threats. There are many dedicated parental control programs that allow you to lock all the data on your computer, and to monitor the websites that your kid will visit. Many antivirus programs have that feature and they can do it for you. For Android devices, you can use Kaspersky Parental Control, while for Windows, Mac, and other mobile devices, we recommend Net Nanny ($40), Find the best recommends Bsecure Online ($50 per year), or Norton Online Family (Free!).

You can always check your router as well, nowadays they come with parental control features. It will allow you to limit the internet time use and also to restrict different websites. Another possibility is to use Open DNS’s parental control, which can protect all your gadgets that use your home internet. It also gives you control over the websites access.

If you are looking for third-party apps to protect your devices from children, here is a great selection:

Kidzui – This is a special browser for windows, oriented to kids, with a very friendly interface. It limits the children’s access to specials games and websites with content for their age. It costs $7.95 per month, but the price for one year is only $39.95. However, it is free for some computers.
Gube – If you are looking for a special parent control app for your iPhone or iPad, this is the one for you. For only $3.99, this app will show to your kid only friendly and funny videos on YouTube.

Kido’z – This app is similar with Gube, but it is designed for Chrome, Firefox, and Android.

Kid Mode – A parenting control app for Android that will lock kids automatically only into educational games and videos. It has an iOS version as well, but the cool lock feature is not available on it.

With all these applications and different objects to protect your gadgets, there is no better way to protect your devices and your kid than supervising your offspring. Always remember that it is way more important to show your kids how to use the computer, and to stay next to them while they are surfing the web. Guide them through the websites, and show how to have fun. Teach your kids how to use the computer in a safe way, and explain how important is to take care of these devices. Even if they are quite small, with time, they will remember it and he will pay attention to such things. Of course, for your own peace of mind, the above precautions should be taken into consideration.