Online Privacy and Security

How To Keep Your Online Personal Information Safe and Secure

Internet Privacy, Consumer Data Privacy, Data Breaches, Password Leaks

Protecting Your Privacy Online

Updated: August 2, 2023
By: RSH Web Editorial Staff

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Protect Your Privacy

How Can I Protect My Online Privacy?

You may be under the impression that your personal information is safe, secure, and private. Just how much information about you winds up on the Internet. You would be surprised!

Do a search for yourself on Pipl - People Search Directory. Did the search come up with your name, social media profiles and possibly even your parent's names, address, and telephone number too?

Pipl is NOT a private database or a secret hacker site. It is a repository of publicly available online data, all of which businesses and advertisers are eager to get a hold of. This type of data mining is completely legal. Most of this information is what YOU put online.

Data Breaches Password Leaks

As rising trend in data breaches continues to grow. Thousands of cybersecurity incidents has happened just this year. Is seems that theft and data loss are now commonplace among businesses

Data breaches and password leaks have struck some of the biggest companies.

These breaches help to reveals the mistakes that lead to the exposure of up to millions of personal data records.

If you have any type of online account, its a good possibility hackers have leaked data from at least one of them.

Do you suspect one of your accounts has been compromised?
Search for your email address on Have I Been Pwned? to cross-reference your email address with hundreds of data breaches.

If you are worried about identity theft or not fond of the idea that others can track your every move, there are a few things you can do to help keep your online data private.


Be weary of those phone calls web-sites and e-mails that want your personal information. These Scammers are very good at imitating legitimate businesses, be on your guard. They also may use high pressure tactics that can spook you into giving up your information, but do not be fooled. Legitimate businesses will not make unsolicited calls to ask for any personal info. If you received a call or email like this you think might be legitimate, contact the business or company directly using contact information you looked up on the company's website. If the matter is legitimate, they will confirm this and help you resolve the issue while making sure your information stays safe.

Digital security and digital privacy

If your computer is infected with a virus or malware, not only can hackers steal your identity, but they can lock up your PC and ask for a ransom to unlock. Always run an antivirus program, and keep all programs and software up-to-date. This also applies to your Mobile Devices as well. Our favorite is Windows Defender Security and Antivirus Make sure your operating system is up-to-date with the latest security patches. We recommend turning on auto-update features. Here is how:
Turn on automatic updates for Windows
macOS automatically checks for updates by default, but you can check manually with these instructions
• Android typically notifies you of updates, but you'll need to install them manually. Instructions will vary depending on your device and the version of Android you're currently running
• iOS will nag you incessantly about updates, so there's no chance you'll miss them. Here is a walk-through of how to update.

Ad Personalization

Turning off Targeted ad personalization, (this often gives companies permission to do invasive tracking).

Here is how to opt out of some platforms ad personalization.

Google and Android

To limit ad personalization on Google and Android.


Opt out of ad personalization on Apple. It may not of been updated for iOS 14. If you have updated to iOS 14, try going to Settings > Privacy > Apple Advertising > turn off Personalized Ads.


On Facebook look for the ad settings tab, toggle the settings to not allowed,
To disconnect your activity that is shared with Facebook, and clear that history.
On the Facebook activity page, under What You Can Do, you can click on More Options > Manage Future Activity and toggle it to off.


How to opt out of Twitter ad personalization.

You also may want to go to and deleting everything you can. On the left, there's a tab that says "Delete activity by" Select "All time".
On your My Google activity page, you can turn off Web and App Activity, Location History and YouTube History.

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Password Protection

Is it necessary to password protect your home computer? All your digital devices should be password protected. This includes computers, tablets, smart-phones and anything that may have your personal information stored. The same for online accounts. Use a unique and strong password. See our tips for creating passwords. Turn on two-factor authentication for any website that offers this option, This will also help protect your account even if your password is compromised. Those security questions to help you recover a lost password? They are not very secure. We recommend making up fictitious answers and using a password manager. Change the default passwords for your router. This is the most important device to secure because your router could give a hacker complete access to your home network.

Secure your Browser

Your browser is how you connect with the Internet. You could be leaving a trail of footprints behind. There are ways to keep your browsing habits private. Advertisers use cookies to see where you have been and customize the ads they show you according to the information they have on you. Here is our article on how cookies work and how to delete them.

To go a step farther, you can disable JavaScript. This cuts off another common way advertisers (or hackers) track you, but it can render some web pages nonfunctional
You can also try the Privacy Badger browser plug-in for Chrome, Firefox and Opera, which stops many potential trackers automatically. HTTPS Everywhere is another good browser plug in that forces your browser to use secure, encrypted sites when they are available, which helps keep snoopers away from your info. Private browsing mode deletes your cookies, browsing history and other temporary files whenever you close the window
We have listed some of the most popular and secure Browsers below:

Switch Search Engines

Most search engines keep tabs on what you're looking for, so they can target ads to your tastes. If you don't like the idea of your search history being used to sell you stuff you don't need, take a look at some other search engines.

These Search Engine claim they will not track any of your personal data. Search without anyone watching over your shoulder.

Social Media Sites

Social media can feel like a conversation with your closest friends. Except it may be a conversation the whole world can see. If you post enough on social media, the information can be used to track where you are and what you are up to. The first line of defense is to lock down your social media accounts. Share only with the people you want to see the information you're sharing, like your friends and family. On Twitter, your account is either completely open or locked down to people you invite to "follow you", changing that setting is as easy as clicking a check-box. Facebook allows more granular control over who sees what you post. See the guide to Facebook's privacy settings to configure your profile. Don't want to lock down your account? Then be choosy about what you share. Take special care with personal information that could be used to identify you or track your location. Do not fill out your complete profile in order to prevent being easily identified or to give someone enough personal details to steal your identity. Consider dialing down what you share. Do you really need to check in to every business you visit, making yourself easy to track? No.

Update Privacy Settings

Visit the privacy settings on each of your social media accounts more than once. Look what information you share publicly and with friends. You are safest when you only allow friends to see your posts, comments, and profile information.

Keep in mind, Social media companies privacy policies will change. Keep yourself updated to avoid being surprised by the entities that have access to your posts or demographic data. Change settings where needed so that you do not inadvertently share information with websites or apps connected to your social media accounts. They will sell your data or browsing history to advertisers, which means less control over your online presence.

Do Others Really Need Your Information

Whenever you are asked to provide personal information, whether in person, on the phone or online, consider whether you really need to give it out. Sometimes, information like your email address and ZIP code is used purely for marketing purposes; in that case, expect your real and virtual mailboxes to be packed with junk mail. To maintain your privacy, never give away more information than you have to
This is doubly true of sensitive personal information like your social security number. Even just the last four digits. Unless it’s your bank, a credit bureau, a company that wants to do a background check on you, chances are they don't really need it.

Only use Software or Apps you Trust

Whether you're installing new software on your devices, make sure you are getting it from a source you trust. Legitimate looking software can sometimes turn out to be a complete scam, like the Scandal over the Meitu Photo App, which collects a mountain of data on its users. Make sure anything you download comes from a trusted developer and a trusted source. If you do not know where your software came from, you will not know what it is really doing. This means there is no telling where your information is going.

Only use Secure Wi-Fi Connections

Sure, it's convenient to use the free Wi-Fi service at your local coffee shop, but there's no telling who is snooping. If you use public Wi-Fi, don't use it to convey private information. Browsing your favorite website is fine, but take extra security measures if you're logging into an account. Use a VPN service to encrypt all the data you send. There are many services that can do this.

Check Those Links

Hacking or Phishing websites are often designed to have links that look similar to the website they are trying to emulate. For example, a website with a link leading to might be a phishing site to take advantage of those looking to access Check the actual address of a link by hovering your icon over the link. The URL will show in the corner of your browser or email. Type the address into your browser instead of clicking on a link.

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Online Privacy and Security Websites

Protecting Your Privacy

USA Gov - Learn about protecting your personal information from unwanted use.

66 Ways to Protect Your Privacy

Consumer Reports - Do one, some, or all. Each one will make a difference.

8 ways to protect your privacy online

USA Today - With information security there is no such thing as a fail-safe solution.

Privacy, Identity and Online Security

Federal Trade Commission - Twitter and your privacy. Not only the key to your financial identity, but also to your online identity. Knowing how to protect your information.

How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure

Federal Trade Commission - Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. There are four main ways to do it.

Online Privacy and Security

Federal Trade Commission - Understanding online privacy, how to protect your devices from hackers and threats, and how to avoid common online scams.

Protecting your privacy online

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada - Tips for protecting privacy while surfing the web, using email or social networking

Protect your privacy on the Internet

Microsoft Is your information at risk on the Internet? Your privacy on the Internet depends on your ability to control.

Download Protecting Your Privacy Online Fact Sheet

Microsoft - This fact sheet provides guidance on how to help protect your personal information in the cloud and includes key considerations around information security and online fraud.

Online Safety Information and Tips

Microsoft - Stay sharp on Internet safety - Protect your computer · What is rogue - Help kids stand up to online bullying.

State Laws Related to Internet Privacy

National Conference of State Legislatures - privacy policies, privacy of online book downloads and reader browsing information, personal information held by Internet service providers.

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