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Online Security

Protect your privacy online

Anything you do on the internet leaves a trail for someone to track you. Websites you visit create files called cookies to customize your experience such as providing local weather or stories about topics you have searched and are interested in. They can also remember your username or the items left in your shopping cart.

However, there are other ways you can be tracked online. For example, when you use an app on your smartphone, advertisers can track you by using a unique identifier generated by your smartphone or can even use your browser’s unique configurations and settings to track activity.

While this may feel overwhelming at times, the good news is there are many ways to protect your online privacy by simply adjusting privacy settings. Whether you use a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, here are a few quick ways to retain privacy.

  • Change your browser privacy settings
  • Change your smartphone privacy settings
  • Consider an ad blocker
  • Change your internet-connected TV privacy settings
  • Opt out of targeted advertising. The Digital Advertising Alliance and the Network Advertising Initiative have free opt-out tools you can take advantage of for each browser and device.
  • Only download apps from official app stores.
  • Don’t automatically sign into apps using one of your social media accounts. This often lets the app gather information from your social media profile (or vice versa).
  • Delete all apps you don’t need.
  • Never reuse passwords. Hackers often use passwords on other sites or apps to gain access.

Click here for the full FTC guide to protecting your privacy online, including information on securing voice assistants and reducing the tracking on your smart TVs.