You wouldn't toss your wallet in the street for anyone to go through, so don't leave yourself exposed when you're online. Taking some simple steps will help stop your personal information leaching out into the wrong hands online.

Keep these simple security tips in mind when you're on the net. And if you want extra protection, there are plenty of browser settings and extra plugins you can add to hide your browsing from prying eyes.

Play it safe

Don't:

  • use third-party social media sharing buttons on websites, such as news sites that ask for your Twitter, Facebook or other login details and that can post on your behalf
  • sign up to third-party apps, tools or games that want your personal information and can share on your behalf
  • sign in to other social networking sites and websites using your Twitter or Facebook profile as this links these profiles for potential cross-posting and cross-sharing of your movements.

Do:

  • log out of websites every time when you're finished and before going to browse elsewhere online
  • use browser plugins to limit how and where your cyber-movements can be tracked
  • go through each setting on Facebook to protect your identity
  • look for privacy policies on websites that state it doesn't collect your computer's IP address
  • sign out of Google or Gmail before using Google Search, or alternatively use a search engine like Duckduckgo, which doesn't collect or share your personal data
  • go to the Google Dashboard (if you have a Google account) to check what information is collected and alter your privacy settings.

Going incognito

Some browsers have inbuilt tools to limit how and where you're tracked on the internet, while others allow you to turn on or open a new private browsing window. Follow the steps outlined below for each browser, then look at additional browser plugins to further hide your online movements.

Firefox

Go to Firefox > Preferences > Privacy tab and check the box Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.

Firefox Add-ons: AdBlock Plus, Ghostery, DoNotTrackMe, NoScript, Priv3

Google Chrome

Go to the options menu and click New incognito window.

Chrome plugins: AdBlock Plus, Ghostery, DoNotTrackMe

Safari

Go to Safari > Private Browsing and click OK.

Safari plugins: DoNotTrackMe, AdBlock, Ghostery

Internet Explorer

Go to Tools > InPrivate Browsing

Internet Explorer plugins: DoNotTrackMe, Ghostery

Opera

Go to Menu > Tabs and Windows > New Private Tab

Opera plugins: AdBlock, Ghostery, NotScripts

Beneficial browser plugins

Here's how these browser plugins help keep you secure:

  • AdBlock Plus/AdBlock prevents ads loading in the browser.
  • Ghostery shows if your computer's internet address is being recorded and by whom.
  • Do Not Track Me blocks websites and social networking sites from tracking you on the net.
  • NoScript controls how JavaScript is used in your Mozilla browser.
  • Priv3 stops social networking sites installing cookies on your computer that will track your internet movements.
  • NotScripts blocks JavaScript and other scripted content