protect your privacyThe Internet has become the premier place to share information and interact with other people in recent years. While getting online can be entertaining and fun, it can also lead to major privacy issues. If you aren’t careful, you could be putting your private information into the wrong hands. Because of the risks that come with being online, there are certain steps that you should consider taking to safeguard your information. Here are a few tips for protecting your privacy online.

Watch for Cookies

Cookies are pieces of information that are stored on your computer from websites. Cookies can be pieces of information like logins or passwords, but they could also lead to privacy problems. For example, some cookies are put into place to get information off of your computer or to track what you do. Your Internet browser should have a feature that allows you to be notified every time a cookie wants to be installed on your system. This way, you can look at each individual cookie as it comes up instead of having things inadvertently installed on your computer without your knowledge.

Editors note: In general cookies aren’t a threat. Find out more here, “web cookies: the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

Use Multiple Email Addresses

Another way to help protect your privacy is to use multiple email addresses online. When you spend any amount of time surfing the Internet, you’ll inevitably be required to enter your email address into various forms to get where you want to go. For example, when you want to sign up for a forum or a site, you will have to register with your email. Instead of using the same email address for all of these different purposes, try to keep one address out of all of these registrations. This way, if the places that you sign up for end up sending a bunch of junk and spam to your email, you can simply avoid using that account. You can give your real email address only your personal friends and contacts that you want to interact with.

Utilize Proxy Servers

In some cases, you may want to use a proxy server to access the Internet. With a proxy server, you essentially gain access to the Internet from someone else’s server. This makes it possible for you to get around blocks of certain websites while at work or on another computer. You can also protect your personal information because it’s like your accessing the site from someone else’s computer. Your I.P. address will not be logged as visiting that site and no other identifying information can be secured about you.

Protect Your Computer

When you are concerned with your privacy, you need to focus on protecting your computer at all costs. In many cases, people download viruses, spyware, malware and other programs that can hurt their computers without even knowing it. Once these programs are installed, they can track your movements, steal your passwords, and get other important personal information. These programs can then send it to scam artists who take advantage of your information in some way. If you are worried about your privacy, you should invest in a good anti-virus program to help protect your computer. Otherwise, you could be at the mercy of identity thieves and hackers who have your personal info.