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7 Ways we leak our Private Data

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Smartphone apps. There are apps wanting your location when they do not need it. Are there any apps requesting your location? You should deny them this information unless it’s absolutely necessary.

2PAnother way your phone knows where you are in terms of location is through the data of a photo. Put up lots of photos on Facebook, and the metadata will contain your location. A stranger can then figure out your where you’ve parked yourself.

Solve this problem with these apps for iOS and Android: deGeo and Pixelgarde, respectively. They’ll rid your GPS data prior to the photos getting posted.

Too close for comfort. When services are linked together, your private information is more likely to get leaked. An example would be to hook an app into Facebook. If you link an account, that’s set to private, with a second, public account, anyone might see your activities. Unknowingly granting unwanted access to an app can result in data leakage. To make the process of figuring out all the different privacy rules, you can use MyPermissions. Don’t be lax on privacy issues.

Always being connected. Always staying connected to social networks means they can track your activities via cookies. If you don’t need to be connected online, then disconnect your device from the cyber world. However, it’s easy to forget to keep doing this.

A browser extension can solve this problem by preventing entities from tracking where you visit online. You should also make a habit of deleting cookies from your browser.

And if you want to know how your phone “knows” your shopping habits, it’s because your Wi-Fi is enabled when you walk into stores or even past a retailer without ever stepping inside; stores implement wireless technology to collect your data, even track your walking pattern inside the store. Turn your Wi-Fi connection off when being near retailers.

A retailer’s free service. Sign up for this and they’ll probably collect data from you, somehow, some way. The customer reward card that you get at the supermarket will likely collect lots of your private information.

Not encrypting. Encryption, by scrambling messages, prevents snoops from reading the messages you’re sending while they’re in transit, but the messages can still be found on your device. However, encryption is one way to reduce the amount of data that gets in unwanted hands. Encryption isn’t just for using a public computer; use it on your home computer and mobile too.

Using free WiFi. Every time you log into free WiFi you are either giving your data away through the carrier who logs your device or criminal hackers are sniffing out your information via unencrypted wireless. Never log into free WiFi without a virtual private network (VPN ) like that offered by Hotspot Shield.

Using a public computer to log into a private service. When you access one of your accounts on a computer at a coffee shop or hotel, this can leave your data on that computer. The browser’s private mode is the solution: use it. If you’re particularly concerned, use Tails, a private operating system.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

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