Carte Blanche recently discussed ‘digital footprints’ and who is tracking them with various industry experts ranging from cyber security experts to ethical hackers to Internet security executives.  The first observation, from Imraan Kharwa (Director: Legal Services, Smart Legal) was, “There’s no shelf life to the things we put online. Remember, we are free to choose, but we are not free from the consequences of our choices.”  Another memorable statement was, ‘If you are not paying for a service, you are the product and not the customer!” from Simphiwe Mayisela (Group Information Security Officer, Internet Solutions).  

Here are some tips, offered by the experts, to take back control over your privacy and digital security:

  1. Use free Ghostery plugin to monitor with whom your information is being shared
  2. Do not use the same password for all your profiles.  If one profile is hacked then consider all the others compromised.
  3. Adjust your privacy settings on your mobile
    1. Privacy settings for Apple devices: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203033
    2. Privacy settings for Android devices: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/6270602?hl=en
  4. Install an ad blocker
  5. Change your cookie settings to expire the moment you close your browser
    1. Google Chrome Users: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95647?source=gsearch&hl=en
    2. Firefox Users: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/enable-and-disable-cookies-website-preferences
    3. Safari Users:  https://support.apple.com/kb/ph19214?locale=en_US
    4. Internet Explorer Users: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17442/windows-internet-explorer-delete-manage-cookies
    5. Microsoft Edge: https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-10-microsoft-edge-and-privacy
  6. Go ‘incognito’
    1. Google Chrome: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95464?source=gsearch&hl=en
    2. FireFox: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/private-browsing-use-firefox-without-history
    3. Safari: https://support.apple.com/kb/ph21413?locale=en_US
    4. Internet Explorer:  https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17442/windows-internet-explorer-delete-manage-cookies
    5. Microsoft Edge: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/instantanswers/34b9a3a6-68bc-510b-2a9e-833107495ee5/browse-inprivate-in-microsoft-edge
  7. Finally, if you’re more serious about online privacy, you can invest in a reputable VPN system.