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How To Protect Your Online Privacy In Less Than 5 Minutes

privacy guide

We’re all lazier than we should be when it comes to online privacy, but there are a few things you can do to keep yourself from being taken advantage of by companies collecting data at every turn.

Even if you don’t care about your online privacy–you’re not doing anything illegal, of course–these things could keep embarrassing and annoying ads at bay.

Don’t assume Google is the only search

Instead of searching using Google, use DuckDuckGo–a search engine that doesn’t track you. You can set all computer and phone browsers to do this by default. You should still get the search results you want without using Google, and you won’t be feeding them more information.

duckduckgo

How-to
iPhone: Settings app > Safari > Search Engine > DuckDuckGo

Android: Android phone use various browsers so the quickest and easiest method is to download DuckDuckGo search app.

On a desktop/laptop: Follow the instructions for your specific browser here.

Google collects a lot of user data, but that doesn’t mean you need to feed it everything about you. Switching to a privacy-focused search engine will keep Google in the dark about all the things you’re looking up.

Message responsibly

Use a messaging app that is end-to-end encrypted. These types of apps keep your messages between you and the recipient. That means your words can’t be used to serve you targeted advertising, or in other malicious ways.

How to: download and use a secure messaging app like Signal, WhatsApp, Wire, or use Apple’s iMessage if both people are iPhone users.

Using a secure messaging app will keep your messages private, even if you’re on an unknown network or there’s a security breach.

Say yes to two-factor

When you sign up for a service and the option to use two-factor authentication is available, use it. Logging in through multiple means (something you know like a password and something you have with you like a phone) can keep your accounts safe from security breaches.

How to: say yes to two-factor going forward. To add it to existing accounts, follow these quick links to get started on: Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.

Two-factor authentication is like putting your password on steroids. Any extra time and inconvenience is well worth it for the added protection and peace of mind.

Finally…

Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re now 100% protected from prying eyes or invincible against any attacks, but these few things will mitigate over sharing personal information. It will also make critical accounts harder to be broken into.

While these quick tips will help keep you from oversharing personal information and make your accounts more secure, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re 100-percent protected or invincible against any attacks.

If you’re curious about what Google knows about you, can see that on CNBC. But, let’s be real, this is the 5-minute guide and those 5-minutes are likely up.