Securing your personal data online - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Securing your personal data online

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We all know that we're spending hours upon hours looking at our phones and computers; but there's also concern that the sites we're visiting are looking too closely into us.

The most recent data compiled by Consumer Reports finds that 70 percent of Americans lack confidence that their personal data is private.

"There's reason to be concerned," said Thomas Germain of Consumer Reports. "But I think the important thing for people to understand is, it isn't a lost cause. There isn't nothing you can do."

So what steps can you take to protect both your privacy and security?

For starters, you should try what's called "two-factor authentication." It sounds high-tech, but is simple in practice. You can turn it on it in the security settings of places like your Google account.

It adds one extra step to your sign-in process -- like pinging your phone --  to make sure that the person signing in as you really is you.

"The idea is that if your password falls into the wrong hands, you're setting up an extra barrier that prevents the bad guys from getting access to your account," Germain said.

How about guarding your privacy from companies hungry for your personal habits? Facebook has a facial recognition system that can pick you out in photos. But you can turn off that function in the privacy filters.

And if you have an Amazon Echo device, the company does have recordings of what you ask Alexa, but with a quick trip to the settings you can delete those files.

"You can say: 'Alexa, delete what I just said,' or, 'Alexa, delete everything I said today,'" Germain suggested.

Maybe you're looking to be even more cautious and want to limit the data you're sending out altogether. There are alternatives to Google for your internet searches. Try, which doesn't collect any information from its users.

And for texting, the free, open source app Signal offers end-to-end data encryption for text, audio and video messages, and even lets you delete messages from both your phone and the person you're interacting with.

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