Granny Trude Data security: I know where you live

Fear of data theft and excessive data storage is widespread. But how can you guard yourselves against it in everyday life? Granny Trude shows you how to play it safe. 

By Granny Trude

Granny Trude at her computer Granny Trude at her computer | Illustration: © Celine Buldun
My dears, my grandson Michi sent me photos via smart-phone of his surfing holiday in the Algarve in Portugal. Not bad what the boy can pull off in the waves! With my 72 years I wouldn’t dare stand on a surfboard anymore. But surfing online – I’m a pro at it now. So I can constantly follow the adventures of my grandchildren from my pleasant hometown of Hollenbach – wherever they are. Today I’ll show you a few tricks with which I protect my data.

The devil is in the metadata

Do you take as many photos with your smart-phones as my Michi? By the way: In the metadata you can see when and where you took your photo. For example, one can find out where you live when you post a picture of your room.

If you use Windows, you can get rid of this data quickly and easily before it goes online: With the right mouse button you get to the properties of the photo. Then go to “Details” and look for “Remove properties and personal information”. On an Apple device, go through the “Photos” application to get rid of the geographic data. Just like my general rule of thumb: less is more.

Better a plant jungle than a data jungle

I already told you in an earlier post that I’m a real plant lover and have accumulated a small jungle in my living room. And despite his mobile phone pictures, I am looking forward to a tangible postcard from Michi for my card collection from all over the world. But when it comes to digital data my passion for collecting things stops. Follow my lead and, next time you surf, choose a private window in your browser. If others use the device after you, they can no longer check which websites you have accessed and which data you have entered there. You can also resort to a VPN – a “virtual private network” that renders you and your activities on the web unidentifiable.

Would you also like to know how to get rid of existing cookies? These are files that operators store on your devices when you browse their pages. This allows them to collect data about your internet use. In your browsers, you can usually access the browser history via the drop-down menu or the settings, which in turn lead to the “Privacy” field (for Internet Explorer via “Security”). Now it’s time to delete. In Google Chrome, for example, the option is called “Delete browser data”. Tick the category “Cookies” – a few data crumbs less.

But of course not everything should be invisible on the internet. Isn’t it wonderful that I can share my experiences with you via the web? Leave me a comment with your thoughts about data security.

And it’s safe to say: I’ll write to you soon again with ideas from my daily life! See you online.