Privacy Check Up
Just like you go to the doctor or dentist to get a check up annually or biannually you should also do a computer privacy check up a couple of times a year. It a good idea to change your passwords at this time and review your privacy settings on your email and social media accounts. Below I am going to briefly cover some highlights of a privacy check up.
If you don’t already have a “spam” email account this is also a good time to set one up. A spam email account is an extra email account you set up with gmail or hotmail or yahoo that you use for signing up for offers from various pages, or whenever you are required to give your email address out to anyone other than an individual.
Spammers often get their information from email lists or newsletter lists. Using a separate account for these kinds of email will cut down on the amount of spam you get in your personal email account. Also using the BCC or blind carbon copy feature on your email when sending a message out to large groups, and asking your friends to do the same will help cut down on the number of people who have access to your email address and the risk of spammers getting ahold of it goes down too. Think of how many times you’ve recieved a forwarded message that has the email address of the last four or five groups of people who it’s been sent too at the top of the message. A spammer could get 50 to 100 or more addresses at a time if they got ahold of the forward.
Check to make sure that most of your Fb settings are at “Friends Only” or “Friends of Friends” if you’re okay sharing with a larger group of people. To check you Fb privacy click on Account on the top right of your Fb page. Then choose “Privacy Settings.”
On the next screen you can see a quick overview of what your privacy settings are. If they are already set to friends only you’re done. If you’d like to make changes click on “Customize Settings” with the blue pencil next to it.
Here you can control each section of your privacy. Setting up a friends list help you add even more custom control. Maybe you don’t want some of your friends from work to see your family portraits, or an acquaintance to have your email, IM, and mobile phone information. Facebook lets you exempt friends from seeing some of your info. A friend list saves you time, by not having to add each name individually.
From this screen you can also preview your profile to see how your privacy settings are working.
I really want to stress that if you haven’t changed your email password in over a year you need to do so now. Don’t use personal information such as birthdays or drivers license numbers. Do use a mixture of letters and numbers. For more password creation hints see this article from the Microsoft website.
Lastly if you’re doing a privacy check up you should clear your browsers cache and cookies. The process differs from browser to browser.
in Internet Explorer:
- Select Tools | Internet Options from the menu.
- Go to the General tab.
- Click the Delete Files… and Clear History buttons.
In Mozilla Firefox:
- Select Tools | Options… from the menu.
- Go to the Privacy category.
- Click Clear All under Clear all information stored while browsing.
- Select Safari | Empty Cache… from the menu.
- Click Empty.
In Netscape and Mozilla:
- Select Edit | Preferences… from the menu.
- Go to Navigator | History.
- Click Clear History and Clear Location Bar.
- Now go to Advanced | Cache.
- Use the Clear Memory Cache and Clear Disk Cache buttons.
- Select File | Delete private data… from the menu.
- Make sure at least
- Delete all cookies
- Delete entire cache
- Delete history of visited pages
- Delete history of typed-in addresses
- Delete history of visited links
- Clear all e-mail account passwords and
- Clear all Wand passwords
- Click OK.