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Security & privacy

2020 in review: Our top privacy and security tips

Between the worldwide pandemic and the scary stories of murder hornets, 2020’s been a frightening year. It’s easy to feel scared in uncertain times, which is why we put special care into our security and privacy tips this year. After all, you’ve got enough to worry about — why feel uncertain about your security and privacy, too?

That’s why we kept a sharp eye on emerging security threats and changes to the tech world. This year, we told you all about viruses, surveillance and even tips for safely throwing away old tech. Tap or click here to avoid this common mistake.

Since it’s been such a chaotic year, you might have missed some of our best advice. That’s why we put together a list of Kim’s top security-related tips from 2020. Which one of our most popular security stories helped you the most?

1. Stop Amazon from spreading your secrets

Have you ever shopped at Amazon? Then you’ve got a profile that shows the public all of your comments and ratings. Any stranger on the internet can see your biography and look through every Amazon interaction you’ve ever had.

Luckily, you can control what’s visible on your account. You can choose to hide your shopping lists and community activity. You can also privatize your wish list and see what your public profile looks like to strangers.

Tap or click here to secure your Amazon account.

2. Check to see if your router has been hacked by criminals

You probably know by now that your every move on the internet is being tracked. Every website you visit that uses cookies wants to sell your data to advertisers. However, you may not know about DNS hijacking.

That’s a new trick hackers use to hack your system through the router. Basically, DNS hijacking redirects you to different websites. You could manually enter your bank’s URL and be automatically sent to a phishing site. 

It’s some scary stuff! Luckily, we found a safe and easy tool you can use to see if your system is safe.

Tap or click here for WhoIsMyDNS, the free security tool that checks for DNS invaders.

3. Remove viruses from your iPhone or iPad

Let’s face it: Hackers and criminals are out to get you. These days, they even have ways of infecting your Apple devices. 

Have your devices been hit by an attack? Here are some surefire signs that you’re a victim. Plus, you’ll get tips to crack down on viruses and bugs on your iPhone and iPad.

Tap or click here for steps to protect your Apple device.

4. Erase everything Google knows about you

Ever wondered why Google always seems to know what you need? That’s because it’s watching every move you make, from the websites you click on to the words you type into search engines. 

You’d be shocked to find out just how much data Google has on you. Thankfully, you can delete almost everything you’ve shared with Google. In just five easy steps, you can take your privacy back.

Tap or click here to clear out all the data Google has on you. 

5. Stay safe when you’re getting rid of old gadgets

When you throw out old tech, you’re giving away a ton of personal information. That’s why you’ve got to properly wipe your phones or laptops when you’re throwing them away. 

Otherwise, strangers could scour your images, emails and documents. A dedicated sleuth could even find your date of birth and Social Security Number.

Tap or click here for ways to safely get rid of old tech.

6. Delete yourself from people search sites

Have you ever searched for yourself online? You’ll probably find your private information on some big data brokering websites. That’s right: Facebook isn’t the only website that knows everything about you. 

People search sites also keep tabs on your personal information and offer it up to the highest bidder. These sites crawl across social media and public records to build a detailed profile of your personal information. Odds are, you might not even know it’s happening. 

Tap or click here to remove yourself from people search platforms.

7. Update Zoom with these security settings

Ever heard of “Zoombombing?” It’s a sick new prank from internet trolls, who are hijacking Zoom meetings in droves. They’re sharing graphic, disturbing videos on business calls, family meetings and even online classes.

Luckily, Zoom updated its program with four new security settings. Now, meeting passwords and a waiting room are default features. You’ll also see new security icons and improved encryption. 

We’ve got the scoop on exactly how these upgrades work. You’ll know exactly how to fight back against Zoombombing. After this, your meetings will be more secure than ever before.

Tap or click here for the scoop on Zoom’s four new security settings.

8. Use Google alternatives to cut down on tracking

It’s hard to keep secrets from Google. The web giant knows what you like, where you’ve been, what you searched for and more. Sometimes, Google’s ubiquitous presence can feel suffocating.

Good news: Switching away from Google is easier than it sounds. We scoured the web and found the best alternatives for Google’s many apps and websites. Whether you’re looking to create documents, browse the web or watch videos, these alternatives have all your needs covered.

Tap or click here to say goodbye to Google.

9. Make sure people are seeing your text messages

Sick of waiting by the phone? Read receipts are a great way to take the guesswork out of texting. When you have this feature turned on, the person you’re texting gets a notification whenever you’ve read their message.

We’ve got a step-by-step guide to setting up this nifty feature. Whether you’re using an iPhone, Mac or iPad, this feature will help you cut your worries. Now you’ll know exactly when someone read your message–as long as they have their own Read Receipts turned on, that is.

Tap or click here to turn on read receipts for text messages.

10. Delete your record from creepy websites

Chances are, you’ve got a ton of personal information floating around the web. Sleazy websites will scoop up all the info you put on social media and plop it in one, easy-to-Google page. Some websites even share private details like your address and phone number.

As you can imagine, these websites are a golden resource for stalkers and cybercriminals. We found one website that’s scarier than all the rest: Search a name, and you’ll find someone’s full name, address, community, property value and more.

Nobody wants that kind of information up for anyone to see. That’s why you should remove yourself from these sites as soon as possible.

Tap or click here to see how to remove all your data from this creepy website.

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