How to Protect your Online (& Smartphone) Privacy

This is a Companion Guide to the 10 Commandments of Password Management

Marketing company Cambridge Analytica bragged it had 5,000 data points on every American voter. Then, and others like them, are buying data from google, facebook, amazing, utility companies, ISPs, and dozens, forums, even hundreds of other sources to make a profile about you. It’s the world we live in. There are a few things you can do. to remove your info from many mailing lists if you don’t want the offers.

  1. Make a fake name/user profile for yourself. 

All Hollywood actors have a fake name for social media. You can try to make all your social media accounts “private” or whatnot, but if you are using a fake name, it’s not so bad.

2. Get a Google Voice #

Google Voice is a VOIP provider, where they will give you a new phone #, and forward all calls to your cell. So yes, you can give out 2 phone numbers, and they both go to your 1 cell. This is so so good because

  1. You can’t Sim-Clone a virtual number.  If you have two-step verification (not as good as 2-factor) Nefarious people can clone your sim, and take over your life, clean out your accounts, etc.
  2. You have much more power and flexibility for blocking specific people. Decide you don’t want someone to call you anymore? Block that number in google and they will receive a “doo-doo-doot! This number is no longer in service” when they call you.
  3. It uses Google’s Spam blocking technology (which, at the time of this writing, is NOT as good as their spam email blocking tech)
  4. You can have custom voicemails for specific people
  5. You can turn on call screening (which robocalls can’t deal with) for everyone NOT in your contact list. Contact listed people go right through.

3. Have 2, or 3 email accounts. 1. For people/friends only. 2. For everything a corporation touch (amazon, eBay, Facebook), and 3. One for pure junk, they just require you to sign up with an email etc.

4. Whenever you do sign up, add a +COMPANY to your email address. If you are Jon.Doe@gmail, sign up like Jon.Doe+travelocity@gmail. So if you ever start to get spam, you will get to see which company sold your email to marketers. This isn’t foolproof obviously. As this catches on, smart marketers can just remove the +COMPANY from the email, and some companies don’t let you have a “+” sign in your email, but interesting none the less.

5.  If you do sign into your browser (that allows you to sync bookmarks & history), make sure you are using your fake identity.

6. With your credit card company, “add authorized user” (some require a Social Security #) for your fake name as well.

7. Don’t use the same userID for sites. In fact, make your username look like your proper password.

8. Get Adguard

9. Get & Use uBlock Origin

10. Privacy Badger

11. Check your credit annually for free

12. Use a VPN

13. Turn off your GPS on your phone. Or get a faraday bag

14. Applying for jobs using Linkedin or Indeed, always (if possible) go to the company website directly. And watch out for shady looking job listings, many post a high paying job, with little requirements, even post it under the name of an official company, and then harvest all kinds of very personal data (work history, income, etc)

15. Careful using Public Wifi Hotspots.

16. Watch out for free phone apps. They harvest data like crazy. Not as big of an issue if you are following rule #1.

17. Keep everything patched and up to date.