Knowing how many ladies I've run into over the years who have accidentally outed themselves on social media (including myself, years ago) I'm thinking I should probably write up a Working Girls' Guide to Internet Privacy.
Rule #1: Always use a VPN....
Rule #1: Always use a VPN. Always, no matter what. No excuses, because ProtonVPN has a free option that works pretty well., App Store and Google Play Store. Download it now if you don't already have it.
Rule #2: Never use hotel wifi, even with a VPN. Tether your devices via making your own wifi hotspot using your phone. Most prepaid plans have this included already, but watch your data usage if you're on a traditional cellphone plan.
Rule #2a: this is because hotels can, and will, kick you out without a refund for browsing certain sites.
Rule #3: Never use the same photos on your professional social media or in your ads, as you do on your personal social media. Avoid using similar photos as well, because image search engines index similar photos and make them too easy to find.
Rule #4: If you must use social media in your real life, go into your privacy settings and look at EVERYTHING. Make absolutely everything friends-only. Limit publicity on past posts. Change your name so it doesn't show your real name. Don't use your photo as the profile photo.
Rule #4 (cont): Do this for all social media. Never sync it with your email accounts or your phone. And that brings me to.....
Rule #5: Never EVER use social media apps. ONLY log in from the website. Do not install twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc on your phone or your computer b/c if you do, it WILL aggregate contacts in any other synced accounts and "suggest" you to each other, even without permission.
Rule #6: Avoid using the same devices (phones, computers) for work that you do for your personal life. Even only logging in from the web, social media will still "suggest" contacts logged in on the same device. It will also suggest profiles using the same wifi, so use a VPN.
Rule #7: Check your settings again. No seriously. Even if you just did it last month. Check your privacy settings frequently, because social media companies regularly add/remove options and change them without telling you. They like to hide it in new TOS agreements.
Rule #8: Passwords. Change your passwords regularly, and make them hard to guess. Don't use MyDogsName123. Don't use the same password for all of your accounts, either. Create a different password for every account. and where possible.... see #9.
Rule #9: Enable 2 Factor Authentication using your work phone. This sends a code or permission request to your phone whenever you log into an account, to help you verify the login is legitimate. This keeps an unauthorized user from accessing your accounts.
Rule #9a: Never 2FA both work/personal accounts through the same phone, because that will link them. Keep it all separate. It's a pain, but do it.
Rule #10: Use encrypted, offshore email whenever possible. Protonmail has a decent free option for civies, but if you're a working girl and you can afford it, safeoffice is way better.
Rule #11: If it's on the internet, it's there forever. Seriously, forEVER. The Wayback Machine aggregates ever-ee-thing. If you're going to post photos of your face, or of anything else, make sure you're ok with those photos being accessible to everyone, always.
Rule #12: If you must use the same computer, you can try making different user profiles for work/home. Won't really make a difference with wifi & social media syncing stuff but may help you avoid accidental cross-account comments & likes.
Rule #13: If you aren't going to use ProtonVPN (free!) or NordVPN (excellent!), then when doing your research make sure you find one that is "zero-knowledge" (doesn't store user traffic) and does not have a "DNS leak" (rendering it useless). Test for this:
Rule #14: Keep the Location Services turned off on your phone, especially when taking selfies. If you forget, run your photos through a free exif data remover. GIMP removes exif data as an export option for image files, is a great image editor & it's free:
Rule #14a: This is because some phones will automatically embed some really horrifying personal info into the file data for photos. You don't want this here, so make sure to remove it.
Rule #15: When meeting clients, keep your bluetooth turned off.
Otherwise, anyone can try to add a new bluetooth device or AirDrop & may see any named computers/phones/appleTVs/etc.
(can someone please tag the gal who warned us all about AirDrop? this one is thanks to her)
Rule #16: When registering a work phone, don't use your real name. Prepaid is the way to go. It's worth the money to cough up for a decent phone though, because security features are a thing which leads me to....
Rule #17: Always keep your phone locked w/ a passcode lock. Do NOT use fingerprints or facial recognition, b/c those are too easy for someone to get w/out consent. Set the lock to initiate instantly after pressing the power button & enable the killswitch after 10 failed logins.
Rule #18: In settings for each app, make sure it doesn't show notification details on the lock screen. You don't need a nosy client or family member checking your phone when you're out of the room & seeing the contents of each txt/email received. This is your clients' privacy too
Rule #19: When meeting clients, have a drawer where they can stash valuables and electronic devices INCLUDING watches and keys, EVEN for regulars. Hidden cameras are made into anything nowadays & I've seen too many hidden phone-pics & vids on sketchy review boards.
Rule #20: If you're going to allow pics or video, make sure you're okay with whatever recorded ending up on the internet, out of your control, and available forever, always, to everyone. Because it likely WILL get there, whether or not you think you can trust him.
Rule #21: Consider the safety of your client's info as well. Free services like gmail, hotmail, etc, are free for the same reason facebook is: they aggregate user data. Use protonmail or preferably safeoffice. Keep any info in your phone minimal, & everything else offshore.
Rule #22: If you have to keep local files, use a secure delete file shredder and partition part of your HD and encrypt it. Try and (just the free version!).
Rule #23: NEVER allow your computer or internet browsers to store your passwords or save your login information for next time, this is a HUGE security risk if anyone gets a hold of your devices. Log in fresh, every time, and use 2FA. See Rule #9 for more on 2FA.
Rule #24: When using Chrome or Firefox, don't sign into the browser. There's no reason to do this, absolutely none, all it does is allow them to save your data & sell it & there's zero benefit to you.
Also, use private browsing mode. Always.
Rule #25: When posting in forums & on social media, be careful what you post. Don't post about public events, emergencies, etc that may be near your home or places that you frequent. Savvy stalkers can use this to find you IRL (ask me how I know this 😐😐😐).
Rule #25a: Be careful about posting small innocuous bits of personal info such as "I like burgers", "this restaurant is my favorite", "I have to get a burger here every time I visit x". Apart they may mean nothing, but savvy stalkers can compile this info to find you IRL.
Rule #26: When touring, don't post selfies from your hotel room. There's a site aimed at stopping trafficking that has a database compiled from well-meaning travelers of hotel room interiors, addresses, & room numbers, meant specifically to identify what hotel & room# you're in.
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