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6 Tools to protect your Privacy Online

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The more advanced that communications become, the more likely your personal information is getting leaked out—every time you search the Web, send texts or e-mails, etc. Your private data is literally “out there.” However, there are six software programs to protect your privacy online.

Expiration date tag. Files, photos and messages are tagged with an extinguish date, then erased from your smartphone. The iOS and Android application for this is Wickr and it’s free. The only content that passes the wire is encrypted. The user’s device will encrypt and decrypt.

Block the intrusion. Where you go on the Web is tracked so that advertisers know what to market to you, but this technology is intrusive. How would you like to return the favor? You can with the free Ghostery service, an extension for the main Web browsers. It records who’s tracking your online activity, providing you information on these entities. You can instruct Ghostery to block such activity.

Multi-prong privacy features. This free program produces disposable e-mail addresses; e-mails are forwarded to the user’s main address, but a detection of spam will shut off e-mails; a login and password manager will keep track of multiple passwords and also help generate strong new passwords.

These features come with an extension for the Firefox and Chrome browser and is called MaskMe. Additional masking features come for $5/month, such as a one-time credit card number.

Easy encryption setup. If that can ever be easy, GPG Suite has made it so. With this Mac-only software, you can set up public and private encryption keys. The encrypted message, which works with Apple’s Mail, is sent by clicking a lock. The GPG Keychain Access component searches for and stores another user’s public key, plus import and export keys. The suite is supported by donations.

Stay anonymous. Today’s technology can identify you simply based on your online search history. Your search terms are retained by search engines, but if this data gets in the wrong hands, it could spell big trouble, or more likely, just be plain embarrassing.

DuckDuckGo is the alternative, as it does not record your search terms or leave them with the site you visit. It doesn’t record your computer’s IP address or the browser’s user agent string.

VPN. Use a VPN to be protected from cookies that track where you’ve visited. Knowledge of where you’ve visited can be used against you by insurance companies and lawyers, to say the least; you just never know what can happen when something out there knows your every online move.

A VPN will encrypt your online sessions with an HTTPS security feature, protecting you from non-secure Wi-Fi such as at airports and hotels. VPN will mask your IP address from tracking cookies. Hotspot Shield is a VPN provider that’s compatible with Android, iOS, Mac and PC, running in the background once installed.

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.

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