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Online privacy: how secure

most web users, unfamiliar with encryption algorithms and open-source code, these precautions will seem extreme

# Passwords: don’t use the same one repeatedly. Create a complex one with upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and characters such as $%&!. Perhaps use the initial letter of each word in a sentence to help you remember it. Differentiate it for each application by introducing letters from the site name, for instance. Or use a management app such as LastPass or DirectPass.

# Security or password reset questions: this is one of the easiest ways to hack an account. If you are asked to provide answers to “security questions”, consider whether the answers are really secure – ie that you are the only person who can knows. If you can create your own questions, do. If you are obliged to answer standard questions such as “first school” or “first pet” remember the answer doesn’t have to be true, it only has to be something you can remember.

# Data : When you will use Outside PC or Internet Cafe PC, always save all data into Desktop, then delete all data from Desktop & Recyle bin. But, better try to save into Flash Disk directly.

# Social media: take advantage of security features on Facebook and Twitter such as two-factor authentication and notification of log-in attempts from unknown devices. Don’t share too much. For example, don’t mention your “porn star name” (name of first pet plus mother’s maiden name), which is exactly the kind of information needed to reset email and bank accounts.

# Email: all free email and webmail services (such as Hotmail and Gmail) are vulnerable, so to communicate privately buy a service such as Fastmail that is not based in the US. At the very least, install two-step verification on Gmail.

# Search engines: try a smaller one, to avoid tracking of search history.

# Smartphones: these are particularly exposed, so be aware that no messages are truly secure. You could connect your smartphone to a cloud service that lets you “remote wipe” if need be – but control what you sync up to iCloud if you wish to remain truly private.

# Cloud services: all of the Dropbox, iCloud and Evernote are open to surveillance, so encrypt information you don’t want to share.

# The tangled web: as we become creatures of the Smartphone, the tablet and the app, and as services, sites and accounts become ever more interconnected, remember that if one is breached others become unsafe. Keep track of which services you give permission to access others, and revoke this if one is compromised or you stop using it.

Even these security measures require both expertise and commitment, and Hancock fears that privacy concerns will frighten some users, particularly older people, away from the internet. “I get awfully frustrated with people of my generation who won’t engage with the web,” she says. “It’s a miracle and I embrace it.”

The scheme underlines how technology can be used as a creative tool, Hancock says. She believes the internet can help foster solutions to social problems through a myriad of small schemes and initiatives, but only if it remains accessible – and safe – for everyone.

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