3. Better Privacy Online
We all leak far too much information about ourselves online. Some of it we cannot avoid, but a massive amount is information we have voluntarily put out onto the internet – on social media and elsewhere. Cyber criminals genuinely conduct research into specific people if they have identified that person as having something they want – be it money or access to a specific company or system.
Data to Go…
In the following video by Cifas, genuine customers used a real coffee shop where the staff were connected to open source researchers. They set themselves a limit of 3 minutes to do the work…
Lock It Down
Start thinking about what you share when you post anything online. Do the ‘billboard test’ – would you be happy to see what you are sharing on a huge advertising board in a busy place. If not, don’t share.
For guides to locking down most of your accounts, see:
Although intended for parents they are great guides for everyone.
NPCC Stay Secure Online Booklet
The National Police Chiefs Council have created this booklet which contains simple instructions for how to appropriately secure common social media accounts, browsers, smart phones and apps.
(The latest version can always be found here – Secure Online Book 2020)
Diving Deeper into Privacy
Once the most easily accessible personal data has been locked down – generally on social media – it is time to consider where else your data is. It is scary how much you can find about somebody if you are trained in Open Source research. Consider data that is contained in and whether edits or deletion needs to be made or requested at:
|Open Electoral Register||Telephone Preference Service|
|Council Planning Websites (various)||Property Websites (various)|
Start doing some simple web searches looking for your name combined with basic information like the town where you live. Find where you exist online and request removal of data.
Change your browsing habits
Think about using stealth mode (e.g. Chrome Incognito, Firefox private window) – be aware they don’t hide what you do from everyone including the other end of the connection. Use a private search engine if necessary.
Complete a Google privacy check-up and turn off web & app activity tracking in your Google account:
- Log into the dashboard www.google.com/dashboard and see all your history
- Log into the web activity page www.google.com/myactivity to see what’s tracked
- Take a backup of this data before using the takeout option www.google.com/takeout if you choose to delete all activity
- Visit www.google.com/account to delete any products / services you no longer need – it may take a week to see full effect of changes