Complete and total privacy is almost impossible achieve, and the layers of privacy get more and more expensive as you add them.
66 Ways to Protect Your Privacy Right Now
Do one, some, or all. Each one will make a difference.
Ah, the joys of the connected life: opportunities to engage with global communities, be educated and entertained, and shop with ease. But these go hand in glove with intrusions from marketers and threats from criminals. The tips here, compiled with input from dozens of security experts, will help you take control. We also have pulled out a shorter list of just seven, super-fast steps you can take right now, in less than 10 minutes. And Julia Angwin, the author of "Dragnet Nation," shares her quest for privacy and security in the digital age.
You can begin with either list or the essay—and you don't have to follow every tip, or even most of them. The important thing? Just get started.
In a hurry? Check out the Consumer Reports 10-Minute Digital Privacy Tuneup.
Or you can skip straight to specific advice on: screen locks, snail mail privacy, unbreakable passwords, mobile account safety, connected devices, handling public WiFi, everyday encryption, Facebook settings, home WiFi settings, boosting web browser privacy, beating ransomware, how to avoid phishing schemes, and Google settings.
1. Check Your Data Breach Status
Wondering whether your personal data is for sale on the web? At haveibeenpwned.com you can check your email addresses and usernames against lists from 120 known breaches at com-panies including Adobe, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. (You'll need to register to check the full database.) If your name pops up, change the password for the compromised account and any other site where—tut, tut—you were using the same password. (Bonus tip: Pros pronounce “pwned” as “poned,” not “pawned.”)
2. Stop WiFi Imposters
Laptops, smartphones, and other WiFi-enabled devices can automatically connect to familiar networks. That’s convenient—no one wants to enter a password for their home or work WiFi every day—but it can also be risky. A hacker can set up a rogue WiFi network with the same name as a legitimate one such as “Google Starbucks” or attwifi and trick your gadgets into joining it.
Periodically get a fresh start by using your devices’ network or WiFi settings to prune the networks you join automatically. Most devices let you delete networks one by one, but if you have an iPhone or iPad, you need to go to Reset Network settings under General settings and delete all of them at once.
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