10 Steps to Protect Your Private Health Data Online
You may have heard about all the hacks and leaks that have happened in the last few years. Many of these include private and government institutions, but it doesn't stop there. Many of these hacks include hospitals, private clinics, and other health organizations. If you're not at least somewhat worried, congratulations, you're made of stone or you have no secrets. For the rest of you out there here are 10 ways you can protect your privacy online.
- Choose your email carefully.
If you have a free email service like Gmail or Yahoo, consider dropping it. Look into encrypted email providers, preferably not based in the USA. Also, even more preferably not affiliated with any software giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc. You don't want another Cambridge Analytica situation.
- Use encryption.
Look into encrypting your data. I know, it sounds complicated and, frankly, geeky and paranoid, but consider the risks. All our lives are online these days. Social media, bank accounts, even your MMO accounts are at risk. It's not really that hard, anyway, there are many encryption and decryption tools available on the Internet depending on what OS you're using.
- Hide your browsing and search history.
If you're sick and tired of the government and various companies being able to (legally) track your web browsing hobbits then consider getting a browser that can obfuscate your clickstream. Something like the Tor browser can be quite handy if you don't want the FBI to know what kind of porn you're watching. I know I don't.
- Avoid cloud services.
Given all of the recent celebrity nude pictures that were leaked in what was known as the "Fappening", I think it's safe to say you shouldn't upload anything too sensitive to cloud-based services. Even Edward Snowden spoke out against cloud services. After all, you're basically uploading your private data to third-party hardware. They say they can't decrypt your data, and maybe that's true, but when has that ever stopped hackers?
- File storage.
Continuing from the last point, an increasing number of people are starting to use their own personal cloud services via products like PogoPlug and Transporter, which supply cloud-like functions, but only on online owned and used by you. Also, make sure whatever drive you to store your info on, even a simple USB stick, is encrypted.
- Be careful with social media.
Well, this one should be obvious. If you want to stay safe you can't spread your personal life's details on the internet. Make sure you carefully choose what information you share with your online friends or followers. Carefully manage your privacy settings.
- Be careful with your location data.
Another obvious one. Don't activate your GPS or location services unless you need to. You never know who's looking for you.
- Be careful with wireless services.
Don't activate your phone or other mobile device's wi-fi unless you're sure the network is encrypted and secure. Also, be sure your Bluetooth is off unless you're using it.
- Use strong passwords.
Remember, a password's strength is determined by not only its length but its complexity as well. Make sure you use a randomized combination of characters like upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Also, never ever use obvious phrases or dates. For added security use an established and reputed password manager.
- Choose your search engine carefully.
Use a search engine that doesn't track your history to build a profile on you to "aid your searches" (in reality to make sure you get the right kinds of ads).