In part 1 of this series, I discussed how to keep your email and internet surfing private. In part 2 I’ll show you how to clean the tracks of your online activity from your computer, as well as some cell phone privacy tips.
Off Line Privacy
Okay, you’ve read part 1 and your email and internet surfing are secure. Is that enough? That depends. How much privacy do you want? If you want more, one, if not all of these tips, will be useful in ridding your box of unwanted online tracks and keeping things hidden from prying eyes:
- Use a password to log in to your computer, and not password, qwerty, 123456. or your pet's name.
- Lock the keyboard when you leave your computer. Windows key + L will do this. You can also have your screensaver do this for you.
- Empty the Recycle Bin.
- Shred files beyond recovery and wipe your free hard drive space using Privacy Eraser Pro or CCleaner.
- Keep your sensitive files encrypted. Winzip will compress and optionally secure your files with a password.
- Keep your sensitive files hidden:
- Clean out the temporary files. Temporary files are countless on any given machine. Who knows what information they contain. Since they are dubbed temporary, why not remove them now? I prefer Temp File Cleaner to do the job.
- Kill the DAT files. DAT files are data files that can contain all of your online activity. Often these files are small and hidden. Additionally, these files are not deleted when you clear your browsing cache of its history and cookies. Index.dat Analyzer will allow you to view them and then optionally remove them.
- Immunize yourself. Spybot - Search & Destroy not only cleans malware from your computer, it also immunizes it, protecting your machine from potentially privacy compromising software.
- Clean the registry. In addition to DAT files storing your internet activity, the registry also keeps track of things you may want to keep private. Cleaning it regularly with a registry cleaner will help protect against this vulnerability. I prefer Auslogics Registry Cleaner.
- Clean everything at once. Both Privacy Eraser Pro and Tracks Eraser Pro do a fine job at cleaning most everything that needs to be cleaned.
- Go to Download.com and search privacy. Programs abound to suit all of your privacy needs.
Cell Phone Privacy
The cell phone is now a computer. That's the bottom line. Now we need to treat it as such. If I'm not mistaken, I believe dialing *67 before you dial a number will block the Caller ID on the recipient's phone. Okay, that's old school. Let's fast forward to today:
- Turn off the GPS. It kills your battery. Oh, it also allows Google, and anyone else you allow, to see where you are in real-time.
- Turn the setting off that allows Google, or anyone, to track your location.
- Turn off the photo GPS option. This option marks the time and place where each photo was taken and stores it in a hidden file.
- Turn off the Sync feature, unless you know exactly what's going on. A lazy attitude on this can send your files to who knows where.
- Enable a screen lock pass code or pattern.
- Get a Google phone number. Google will give you a free phone number with voice mail that you can tether to your cell phone. With this, you never need give out your "real" phone number. You can even dial out using your new number.
- Have an anti-theft solution in place before you need it. Try SeekDroid AntiTheft and Security.
- Antivirus software is also a good idea. Take a look at Lookout Mobile Security.
- You may want to change the settings of your phone to only allow those people on your contact list to call you.
- Go to the app store and get Mr. Number. This app can unblock blocked Caller IDs, look up unknown numbers, plus a few other cool things.
- Also, get Vaulty at the app store to hide your personal pictures.
- Turn the thing off at night.
Seeing the Unseen
This is where network, application, and server monitoring comes into play. If you're a network admin and need to see the unseen, check out these gems: