Protect the Privacy of your PC

Each day, we realize how little our privacy is protected while we are the internet and when we send and receive emails.  Information that is sent or viewed online is more than likely available to the general public.  There are many ways to keep secure your sensitive information both while connected to the internet and on your hard drive.  The software we discuss below will help keep your precious and sensitive files on your PC private and secure.  For help on privacy on the internet, check out our section on how to encrypt your wireless network.

For more information on how to protect your privacy while browsing the internet, check out our Anonymous Internet Browsing article with tips and advice on how to keep your private information and identity secure.In today’s information age, your personal information is highly sought after.  Your personal information may be of interest for completely legitimate reasons such as online banking, e-commerce, or travel.  However, it seems like everywhere you go on the Internet a person our web site is asking for all of your personal details.  Always remember that you are in charge of your personal information.  You’re the one that decides whether or not an entity or web site can receive your personal information.  Another reason web sites are looking for your personal information is for marketing purposes.  Being able to add your mailing address, phone number, or most importantly your email address to a company’s contact list is extremely valuable.  This is so that potential merchants mail you or email you bargains, coupons, or electronic newsletters.  However, all of these emails tend to clog up your inbox and some even come back around as unsolicited spam emails.  The best thing you can do, is the very judicious in and giving out your email address.  Remember, your email address is your personal information, and yours to protect.  For more information, check out our article: how to eliminate spam from your email inbox.

There are several things you can do to secure your PC.  Every time you browse the internet or open attachments from emails, you leave a trace on your computer – kind of like a bread-crumb trail that details where you went and what you did.  You can remove these bread-crumbs with several privacy protecting programs.  You may also want to hide certain information on your hard drive such as username and passwords to sensitive accounts (such as your bank accounts, etc.) and financial information.  The best way to secure this type of information is by encryption.

Protect your important files by subscribing to an automated, secure and encrypted online backup service.

Encrypt your Sensitive Files

First thing to do is try and keep your sensitive and personal information in one location on your computer.  This makes it very easy to back up (check out our hard drive backup plans article.) However, keeping all your files together on your hard drive also leaves you more susceptible to wrong-doing by nefarious people trying to steal your information or harm you.  Thus comes the necessity to encrypt your most sensitive files.

True Crypt is a disk encryption program that takes the files and data on any storage device and jumbles up the information so that it’s essentially unreadable, unless you have a key to unlock it. TrueCrypt is incredibly advanced, but easy enough to use that anybody can be up and running in a matter of minutes once installed. It features the ability to create a secured, encrypted file on your hard drive into which you can place other sensitive files. It also allows you to encrypt your entire volume or hard drive, if you feel like going whole-hog.

Confidentially Delete Files

Most people think that once they click on a file and hit “delete” that file had been removed from their computer.  Most files, when deleted, end up in your Recycle Bin which you will need to empty.  Even if you empty this Recycle Bin, many files can still be recovered wither through honest diagnostic means or by surreptitious malicious means (intruders, snoopers, foreign governments, business competitors, etc.)  To truly rid yourself of a file and to remove any trace of its past existence, you will need to use more sophisticated deletion tools than your Windows Operating System provides.  One such tool that we absolutely love is CCleaner – and it is free!

CCleaner is a very effective tool for maintaining a healthy computer. The software is very small at 3,468 kb, but the capabilities are powerful at eliminating unwanted data. Regular scans and analyses keep user’s computers running quickly. The interface is simple and the program is very user friendly. Here are some of the highlights of the CCleaner.

The main cleaner is able to analyze and delete superfluous information. This includes things like temporary internet files, internet histories, cookies and recently visited URLs. Persons that use the program are recommended to bookmark their favorite sites to keep track of them because they will be erased from the recall. The program is compatible with numerous browsers, including Firefox. Additionally, the program will delete saved and stored passwords to websites and forum. However, users are able to uncheck programs that they wish the computer to store. The main cleaner also empties the recycle bin and Windows log files.

Windows CleanUp! is a privacy cleaner that is easy to use and can remove information about your Internet activity, while also deleting many types of junk files that take up unnecessary space on your hard drive.  Windows Cleanup! has different levels of cleaning based on your preferences and needs. Windows Cleanup! can thoroughly remove all personal references, Internet Explorer favorites, and other information. It can eliminate all deleted files so they cannot be recovered.

Steganos Locknote – This is basically nothing more than an encrypted, secure text file.  It is self-contained, with the encrypting portion build right into the text file itself.  Safe and secure – there is no installation required.  It appears as a simple text file and opens to look just like a file in notepad.  The only difference is that the contents are encrypted and secure.  You can have as many of these different “Locknotes” on your computer as you want.  A great place to secure your username and password combinations since the file is encrypted, lightweight, and no delay in loading.

Article: Think Before You Click to Avoid Viruses and Scams – Read PC World article

 

If you have a wireless internet connection in your home, you should check out our section on how to secure your wireless network for detailed instructions and advice on data encryption and wireless router security.  Check out our related article:Advanced Personal Computer and Home Network Security.

 

Steps to Protect Your Privacy

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