Online Privacy Means More Today Than Ever Before
The adoption of the Internet has been one of the greatest tools the world has ever seen. The ability to look up any subject or ask any question and the ability to find these answers is an extraordinary benefit for all of us. Connecting to friends, family and people you never knew has made the world much smaller but we now know this comes at a price. We wrote this article to help you understand this price and how Online Privacy can affect your life and give you some ideas on how to regain control of your Online Privacy and Online Presence.
Despite the benefits of a smaller interconnected world, no one thought how our Online Privacy would be affected. We hear from many people about their concerns over Online Privacy and they aren’t sure how they can give themselves some protection. We want to take a look at some of the steps you can take to Protect, Prevent and Proactively secure your Online Privacy.
The Word FREE No Longer Means What You Think It Does
How many of us found this little company called Facebook years ago and we were offered a FREE account? We were told this would be a great way to get back in touch with family members, friends, school mates and to meet new people. What we weren’t told was that all of our conversations, likes, dislikes, family trees, and pictures were going to be stored, analyzed and sold to any company that would like to target you. Target you to sell you something or build a profile on you to determine your life biases like political, sexual, or any other personal trait they could gather from all this information that Facebook gathered. Once we found out what Facebook was doing, their response was, we got a Facebook account for FREE so we gave our consent to them to gather this information and sell it. Our Online Privacy has never been the same and will affect us in ways many people haven’t considered.
Think of how many FREE accounts you’ve signed up for over the years. FREE stock accounts (they sell your trade information before you execute your trade so you pay a higher price), or FREE dating sites (they sell your sexual preferences or likes, dislikes and anything else you gave them). FREE email accounts that you have forgotten about on an old Yahoo account or social media sites where you posted instant messages or pictures on Snapchat or any other social media sites. Most likely that information has been sold to data brokers and could come back to haunt you. Here is an article from CareerBuilder.com showing what employers are rejecting applicants for after doing online searches on applicants: 70% of employers are snooping candidates’ social media profiles (click here for full article) here is a SNIPPET of what they are looking for:
So, what to flaunt vs. flop?
Social recruiting is now a “thing” when it comes to hiring candidates – 3 in 10 employers have someone dedicated to solely getting the scoop on your online persona.
Employers are searching for a few key items when researching candidates via social networking sites as good signs to hire:
- Information that supports their qualifications for the job (61 percent)
- If the candidate has a professional online persona at all (50 percent)
- What other people are posting about the candidates (37 percent)
- For any reason at all not to hire a candidate (24 percent)
And they aren’t stopping there either – 69 percent are using online search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to research candidates as well, compared to 59 percent last year.
The no-nos when using social networks
With more than half of employers (54 percent) finding content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate, why take your chances? Pause before you post and remember these key reasons that employers were turned off by a candidate’s online presence:
- Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39 percent
- Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38 percent
- Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion: 32 percent
- Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 30 percent
- Candidate lied about qualifications: 27 percent
- Candidate had poor communication skills: 27 percent
- Candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 26 percent
- Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 23 percent
- Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22 percent
- Candidate lied about an absence: 17 percent
- Candidate posted too frequently: 17 percent
Using social media to your advantage
You don’t have to look at your online persona as problem. There are things you can do on Twitter or Facebook that can actually up your chances of employment. Use it as an opportunity to stand out in a positive way and showcase your personality. In fact, more than 44 percent of employers have found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate.
End of SNIPPET:
Regardless of whether you opened any of the above accounts can you remember all the FREE accounts you did sign up for? Do you know what information is held in all of these FREE accounts? Great if you do but if you are like most people we have no clue. One of the most popular services available are from companies that are willing to put in the work to remove your personal information from many of these companies that are selling your information. JoinDeleteMe.com has a fee based service for those of you who have no time to spend hours doing this but they also have a great DIY (Do It Yourself) Guide that has steps you can take to reduce your online presence here: Joindeleteme.com
You Can’t Have Online Privacy Without Online Privacy Protection
Do you know of anyone who has been hacked? Been Ransomware”d? Pwned? Have you ever had to change a password on an email account or other online account due to the account being compromised?
These companies have:
If some of the largest companies in the world can be attacked how easy of a target are you if you don’t have some form of protection on your computers or devices? Here is an article showing the top 25 most common passwords used in 2012:
You CAN’T make it that easy or you’re asking for trouble in today’s world. Here are a few ideas that will make it much more difficult for you to be exposed.
(1) Privacy Guardian — Iolo Co Stop spying eyes from obtaining your most private data
(2) Password Protection — Dashlane Painless Password
(3) Malware and Ransomware Protection — Heimdal Security — Advanced Protection
(4) VPN (Virtual Private Network) — NordVPN — Hide your IP address so no one sees what city you are connecting from.
Here Are Some Additional Free Steps To Take
(1) Make your passwords a combination of letters, numbers and symbols and the longer the better.
(2) Don’t store your credit card information on your browsers
(3) When you get an email asking you to reset your password or pay an invoice or verify your account, the first thing you should do is look at the “reply to” email address. If it shows a strange email address or an unusual domain name like @Idontknowyou.com then it is most likely a spam email. Even if you get an email that shows @microsoft.com then you should contact the company first before you do anything.
(4) Keep your software up to date so that your computer has the latest virus and malware protections.
(5) Keep an OFFLINE backup of your computer and files on a storage drive.
These are some of the more basic precautions to take to protect your Online Privacy.
The internet revolutionized the world and has brought many great benefits to us all. However, it’s brought a lot more risk in terms of Online Privacy. Jobs, present and future, can be affected, Finances have and will continue to be affected. Past bad judgement will affect us and core beliefs will affect us. We should take steps to ensure that what information is online is a true reflection of who we are. If you take a few proactive steps you can greatly increase your chance of having Online Privacy Protection.
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