5 ways to protect personal information online


  • Vivaldi Team

    With data collection, user profiling, hacker attacks, and security breaches on the rise, our devs share their best advice on how to protect personal information online.

    Click here to see the full blog post


  • Moderator

    For 1. If you're asked to make a security question (First pet, Place of birth, School Name) you don't have to answer these honestly - it's just another password. You can put any random stuff in there you want as long as you (or your password manager) can remember it later.

    For 1. You don't have any obligation to give personal details to anyone. Websites use friendly language and sure, it's good for them to be polite, but just because they are polite doesn't mean you owe them your data when they ask for it. They're not going to be hurt because you withhold it or give them false details.

    For 2. Keep an eye on old accounts. You never know if a company might be sold to or bought up by someone else in the future. If you don't use them anymore and they have your personal data, delete your account.

    For 3. A unique password is safer than a complicated one. Unless you're a high risk target, credential stuffing (trying to log in with known combinations of emails and passwords) is the most likely means of attack.

    For 3. A password manager doesn't have to be a complicated application. A notebook is just as useful for remembering long unique passwords and can only be read if you have the physical copy. Just make sure that you store it in a safe place and trust anyone who might know about it.

    For 4. I repeatedly told someone about password managers to the point it must have gotten annoying. But they ended up using one anyway, so the message got through. Teaching people to not give over personal details is a lot more difficult though.

    For 5. Beware of sites that gamify handing over your personal data. LinkedIn is a really bad contender for this, and I'm sure there are others. If you see progress bars, badges or achievements for filling out more of your profile - don't be sucked in. Literally no-one will care if your profile has fewer meaningless internet points than someone else's.

    For 5. YouTube works perfectly fine with cookies disabled. It breaks commenting and recommendations, but then again, you might be better off without those πŸ™‚



  • "Mix words from different languages to create memorable but hard to crack passwords. Use a password manager and sync your passwords so you don’t lose them if your computer fails.

    Tarquin Wilton-Jones, Security expert at Vivaldi "

    That is a good one


  • Ambassador

    I use Steve Gibson's methods. I think I've mentioned him before.
    He has some remarkably good suggestions. His Password Haystack is one though I think I prefer his Printable Paper Passcards (Services > PPP). Can be easily saved (locally or on Someone Else's Computer) with highlighting or notes and referred to as needed. I store mine locally, encrypt, then copy to Someone Else's Computer service and can be used on any OS that has a PDF reader.
    His articles are also very interesting, though unfortunately for me, a bit over my head.
    I have yet to manage a Password Manager, running Win10, PCLinux, LinuxMint, iOS and Amazon Kindle Fire finding something that works on all and will remain secure seems a challenge.



  • @LonM said in 5 ways to protect personal information online:

    For 1. If you're asked to make a security question (First pet, Place of birth, School Name) you don't have to answer these honestly - it's just another password. You can put any random stuff in there you want as long as you (or your password manager) can remember it later.

    This is a fantastic point! It didn't occur to me for ages that I could do this!

    It also makes answering so much easier, e.g. "Who is your favourite musician?" may have changed since you signed up for the service. Even if it hasn't changed, imagine you're a Gothic child of the 80s... : did you put "The Sisters of Mercy", "Sisters of Mercy, The", or "Sisters of Mercy" etc.?

    For 2. Keep an eye on old accounts. You never know if a company might be sold to or bought up by someone else in the future. If you don't use them anymore and they have your personal data, delete your account.

    I started a purge on this a while back... There are so many accounts I'd forgotten about completely, and I always thought I was really careful! Most people will have far more of these than me.

    For 5. YouTube works perfectly fine with cookies disabled. It breaks commenting and recommendations, but then again, you might be better off without those πŸ™‚

    invidio.us will be very interesting to those who can't find the video they're after outside YouTube. I always check other video services first before I resort to Youtube - and even then, I only ever interact with it via an Invidio instance. Similarly, those who use Twitter might want to look at Nitter, which does a similar thing but for Twitter.


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