How To Maintain Your Online Privacy In A Gamified World
One of the few unwanted side effects of gamification is the fact that it often involves putting a lot of personal information out there. Even if you choose to keep your name anonymous, by logging your activity, you are giving potential identity thieves some very useful data.
Of course, this is true of everything in today’s online world. We’re so used to our data being all out there that we often don’t think twice about it. We agree to all T&C’s; we give every retailer our credit card details; we confess important personal information all the time.
Much of the reason we’re so willing to give up our personal information is that it no longer seems like we have a choice. Sooner or later, Apple, Google, Facebook, and all their affiliated advertisers will know everything there is to know about us. And sooner or later, there’ll be a big breach that gives criminals access to the identities of everyone online.
But that does not have to be the case. It is still possible to keep a handle on our identities, but to do this we have to take the necessary steps.
Be sparing with your personal details
It may feel like everything’s out there already, but it doesn’t have to be so easy to access. We’re not advocating that you live like a survivalist, expecting the end of the world just around the corner. But make sure that when you sign up for something, the service is reputable and trustworthy.
Even with reputable services, be careful. Do not reuse passwords – if you do, hackers will be able to access all your accounts with what they glean from just one attack. Ideally, have a billing address that is not your home address, and don’t share your home address with anyone unless absolutely necessary.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is touted by many as a solution to everything, from FBI surveillance to the gaze of your neighborhood hacker. Well, it’s definitely not a panacea, but it does do a lot to keep you safer than most.
The best VPN service will hide your location and encrypt your data without keeping any logs of their own. This last point is important. If they keep user logs, stay away from them. They may have innocent reasons behind it, but if they get hacked then you’re back at square one again.
Also, remember that you’re going to have to pay for a VPN actually worth its salt. While there are free versions available, you usually get what you pay for. Most of the free ones expire and you end up needing to pay anyway.
Still be Vigilant – don’t be the sucker
A VPN will not solve everything, and is no help if you are willfully handing out your information to everyone that asks. It goes hand in hand with secure web practices. It may be considered irresponsible, however, to use the internet without one. These days, our data can put us at risk of identity theft. Don’t make it any easier.
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