How to Counter Data Collection
Predator: Cecilia A., Subject Matter Expert OSINT/Cybercrime’s, Department of Defense, and US Government Agencies (especially those with 3-letters)
Topic: How to Counter Data Collection
- Identify how privacy is compromised within the cyberspace.
- Identify how to prevent third parties from collecting personal data.
- Reduce online vulnerabilities through behavior and tactical surfing
- Provide resources to increase online privacy and security
- Internet Connection
Privacy is the precursor to solid security. The less information you disclose in any domain, physical or cyber, the less points of access a predator has to breach your security perimeter. This lesson is part one of many that will provide you insight into the mind of hackers and their tricks to avoid collection efforts.
How is privacy compromised in the cyberspace domain?
Even if you do not engage social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., your privacy in the cyberspace domain is invaded when surfing with unprotected browsers.
Privacy is also invaded by organizations and businesses whose sole purpose is to crawl the cyberspace collecting information from public records (birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates, mortgages, registration of companies, vehicles, etc.).
These businesses, such as PeopleWise.com, Pipl.com, mylife.com (and many others – there are about 22 businesses that profit from collecting, packaging and disclosing your personal information without your permission), list your current and previous addresses, potential relatives, age, telephone numbers, websites where you have posted a comment, etc.
In the cyberspace domain, your privacy is easily compromised in three ways:
- Voluntarily when you disclose your information
- Involuntarily and without your knowledge when companies compile publicly available and personal information and offer that data through online services
- Voluntarily when you use an unprotected Internet browser.
How can I keep companies from collecting information when browsing the Internet?
There are two strategies recommended for secure and private surfing that are both inconspicuous, and freely available on Mac and Windows based computers.
- Projection and Demeanor Management
- Tactical Surfing
Projection and Demeanor
Habits are difficult to break. Right now, you probably use one browser – that must change. Diversify how and what you surf into two different browsers. As of today, I recommend two Internet browsers: Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Regardless of whether you use PC or Mac, you can use both browsers on your laptop or desktop computers.
You will use both browsers but for different purposes.
Use to access sites that required username and password, such as your personal or work email platform, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Why? In future lessons, you will learn how to use Google Chrome to run encryption algorithms. More to follow.
Use for recreational/research surfing. This will be the browser you will use to look for websites about topics of interests, read the news, read blogs, and so on.
Why? Mozilla Firefox has features to keep intruders from collecting and selling your Internet surfing habits and data.
How to configure these two browsers to protect privacy and increase security?
Go to Settings and ensure that you have a check mark on the following settings:
- Enable phishing and malware protection
- Send a “Do not Track” request with your browsing traffic
- Check “ask where to save each file before downloading”
Make sure that you are NOT enabling the saving and remembering of passwords.
- Go to Tools – Options in the PC or Preferences in Mac.
- Under the General tab, select “Use Blank as Homepage” and ensure that there isn’t a url listed in the field
- Place a check mark in “Always ask me where to save files”
- Go to the Privacy tab, and place a check mark on “tell websites I do not want to be tracked,” select the option “Never remember history,” and on the Location Bar, select either nothing or Bookmarks.
- Go to the Security tab, and place a check mark on “Warm me when sites try to install add-ins,” “Block reported attack sites,” and “Block reported web forgeries.”
- DO NOT ask your browser to remember passwords or use a master password
- Go to Tools – Add-ons. A new window pops up. Go to the Get Add-ons and in the search field type the following add-ons, and follow the prompts for installation: AdBlock Plus, Ghostery, NoScript and DoNotTrackPlus.
In both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, type the following in their respective URL fields: Disconnect.me, and follow the screen prompts to install this additional add-on in both browsers.
What else to keep surfing private?
Keeping your surfing private requires a combination of behavior and technology. The steps you performed above are just the tip of the iceberg in the process needed to guard your privacy and security. During the course of these series you will continue to receive guidance on how to better protect your privacy and security.
How can I delete accounts online?
Some organizations such as LinkedIn will create an account for you even though you did not request that. The page will have your current or past position, location, and 1 or zero connections.
You can visit AccountKiller.com to obtain guidance on how to remove unwanted accounts.
Privacy and security is a process and you must be an active participant in this process. Technology alone will not guard your privacy and security. Education is a key ingredient in this process. Stay tuned to receive your next post on privacy and security.