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How College Students Can Maintain Privacy and Security Online


From a college campus to the professional marketplace, sustaining online privacy and covering digital tracks can be difficult to achieve and maintain. The Pew Research Center discovered 59 percent of those surveyed feel it’s impossible to maintain online anonymity. Yet, 86 percent said they try to keep a low profile with the help of tips and techniques, such as clearing browsing cookies. The following solutions can help cover your digital tracks as a college student with a bright future and promising career path.

Clear your cookies and search history

Clearing cookies is one of the easiest and fastest ways to help boost online anonymity. More than half of surveyed users said they cleared their cookies and browsing history. Many sites store cookies to remember your information, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, including where you live, your email address, name, or interests. End each online search by clearing your history from the history tab of your browser. Cleaning out your history keeps nosy roommates from seeing what you’ve been up to, as well as prying eyes on public computers.

Go to your Internet browser’s preferences, and visit the security and history area to delete cookies. Or select options to keep cookies from storing your personal information. AboutCookies.org provides a guide on how to clear cookies on just about any browser and computer type.

Stay anonymous when posting comments

Anonymous online posting and commenting is a tactic 25 percent of Pew Research participants used. Most websites and blogs ask for your name, email or website address before you’re allowed to post. Use a fake name or “AnonPoster” in the name field. Set up an email address that isn’t connected to your real name or personal information for safe posting purposes. Skip websites that ask you to log in with your personal Facebook account before posting. It’s also important to beware of the potential dangers of anonymity on the Internet.

Use a service to Web browse anonymously

The Pew Research Center poll emphasizes that 18 percent of people mask their identity online using a fake or untraceable name, and 14 percent encrypted communications. For anonymous Web browsing, DigitalTrends.com recommends using a proxy server. A proxy reroutes your Internet connection through a different server and plays middleman between you and the site you’re visiting. As a result, your IP address showing your location and other personal information is difficult to track down. Proxy servers are generally easy to install into any major browser. Publicproxyservers.com offers a list of available public proxies.

Using the Internet also opens up vulnerabilities to identity theft, specifically. Identity theft victims suffer from loan, credit card, phone, and bank fraud, which can affect your future as a post-college grad who’s trying to get established in the “real world.” Safe Web anonymity practices go beyond the security of a secure login and help monitor your identity and maintain online privacy for now and the future.

Use an Identity and Credit Monitoring Service

Despite our best efforts, it’s still possible for financial and personal information to be stolen. It’s important to continually monitor credit reports and personal identity information using a service like LifeLock.com.


20130924tu-social-monsters-email-logoThe above article is a guest post by Ryan Harrison of SocialMonsters.org – provider of exceptional and unique free web content.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com