Private information is recorded every single day on your computer. Usernames, passwords, birthdays, social security numbers, credit cards, and any other information that has been entered into a website, form, or through email can likely be found somewhere on your hard drive.
Because of that, privacy and security programs can help protect your information and prevent it from getting into the wrong hands.
Unless you have disabled the ability for your computer to store a lot of this secure information, chances are good that someone can find some or all of your private data by looking in a few different places on your machine.
Learn more about software that can help keep your personal information safe and secure, and prevent someone from gathering information from your computer.
How Do Privacy and Security Programs Work?
Any information that has been entered (unless it was previously destroyed) on your computer is likely stored in a temporary file or location. Privacy and security software can scan temporary files and destroy any information that is found, whether it is useless data or vital personal information.
After scanning your computer to determine where temporary information is located, a privacy program can effectively delete website history, tracking cookies, and other information like usernames, passwords, or payment data that has been stored. Remember, even if settings are disabled on the browser, temporary data may be stored.
In addition to deleting temporary files and data, an effective program will also delete files that may have been stored by an instant messaging chat client, temporary email files, and multimedia files.
If you are nervous about your privacy, you may want to download a privacy and security application to cover your tracks.
Remember, your personal information may be stored on other websites as well. In fact, Facebook has an entire section dedicated to privacy information and settings.
Benefits of using privacy and security applications
Manual settings can help prevent some information from being stored, but using an effective application can take your security to the next level. Here are a few reasons why you may want to use a tool to help increase the security of your computer.
- Ease of use – After installing an application, you can take care of a lot of your security concerns in a single location. Scan for files, delete them, remove tracking information, and a variety of other security functions can be done from a single interface.
- Permanent deletion – Some deleted files can be recovered. With a permanent delete feature, files are completely deleted and unable to be recovered.
- Peace of mind – Instead of worrying about whether or not the security settings have been properly set, you can run a privacy program at any time to make sure your information is deleted and cannot be recovered.
A privacy and security program can definitely help, even if you are cautious with your information on your computer.
Possible downsides of using a privacy and security program
Some experts avoid using security software applications. Here are a few reasons why some people are cautious about them.
- Creates additional work – Some applications have been known to delete cookies for any website visited, regardless if you wish to or not. This means you have to enter your login credentials each time you wish to login, even if it is a secure website.
- May be unnecessary – Some people manually enter secure information into websites anyways and do not think having a program is required to keep their information safe.
- Costs – A usual argument about a piece of software is the cost or license fee associated with it. Privacy and security programs can cost upwards of $50 per year, but that may be well worth it if it prevents your credit card or social security number from being stolen.
If you decide against using a program to help delete temporary information, be cautious with where you enter private information. Some websites can duplicate the look and feel of a trusted website as a means to gather private user information.
If you are entering private information (username, password, payment information, social security number) onto a website that does not have “https://” in front of the domain, you are running the risk of your information transmitting insecurely.
Read 10 Tips for a Safe PC and learn how to keep your computer safe.
Other types of applications that can protect your computer and private information
To make sure your computer is as safe and secure as possible, you may want to take a look at other applications that can help.
- Anti-Virus Programs – A good anti-virus program will have both reactive and proactive capabilities. By preventing viruses before they start, the reactive nature is rarely ever used and your system remains safe, secure, and in working order.
- Anti-Malware Programs – Much like a virus scanner, malware scanners also work to prevent your computer from getting infected. However, a malware scanner tends to prevent dangerous cookies, hijackers, spyware, and other software that may breach your computer.
- Registry Cleaners – Your registry is responsible for configuration information on all applications and processes on your computer. Making sure entries are correct and not tampered with can help improve and maintain a secure machine.
Top 3 Recommended Privacy and Security Programs
- Privacy Controls
- Privacy Guardian 4.1
- ID Watchdog Platinum
Whether your keep your computer secure manually or with the help of a program, it is always suggested to be aware of how and where you share your personal information.