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"What are some simple steps I can take to usefully protect my privacy online?
Gabriel Weinberg, CEO/Founder DuckDuckGo. Co-author Super Thinking, Traction.
Answered February 1, 2020 · Author has 103 answers and 2.1b answer views
"Many people believe that they can't do anything to protect their privacy online, but that's not true. There actually are simple steps to dramatically reduce online tracking.
Step 1. Download DuckDuckGo on all your devices
With just one download you'll get tracker blocking, private searching, increased encrypting, and privacy grading on all of your browsing. Our mobile app for iOS/Android (DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser) and browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari (DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials) has all of this in one seamless package. Privacy, simplified.
Step 2. Update your software
Your device operating systems get out-of-date over time, and old software can contain security bugs or settings that leak personal data. Set your devices (and the apps on them) them to update automatically. That way you'll always have the latest, safest versions.
Step 3. Update your privacy settings
Make sure your devices are using the best privacy settings. Here are step-by-step instructions for all the major device types.
Especially make sure you adjust per-app location settings, so that your location history isn’t leaking where it shouldn’t. For extra bonus points, review the apps you have installed. If there are any you haven't used for a while, remove them to reduce the chance of your personal data being shared in the background.
Step 4. Use a password manager
Privacy and security are not one and the same, but if your accounts are not secured, your privacy is at risk. Have you ever used the same password on more than one website? If the answer's yes, then your privacy may be compromised due to data leaks. The fix is easy: start creating unique passwords for every website you use. That may sound like a lot of work, but it’s not when you use a password manager. Password managers generate and store secure passwords for you automatically. Many browsers now have them built-in, or you can use a tool like LastPass, Dashlane, or 1Password that work across multiple browsers.
Step 5. Set up two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (also known as multi-step login) is where you use a code to log in to websites in addition to your password. You should set up two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible, and certainly on your major accounts (email, financial, etc.). You can check if major sites have it available here, which also links directly to the right documentation pages.
And that’s it! Doing the above five steps makes a huge impact on your privacy online, from stopping Big Tech from sucking up all your browsing data to adding extra protection to your passwords and email. And, once set up, it doesn’t take much effort to maintain. So, let’s make 2020 the year we all take back our online privacy!"