Staying Safe Online, Part 3: Windows and Mobile Wallets
Welcome to the third part of our series on staying safe online. We’ve covered general tips and social media, as well as Google privacy and online dating. In this article, we’ll dive into Windows settings that can help keep you safe and cover the basics of mobile wallets.
Windows and Privacy
These tips are written for Windows 10 users, and the locations of settings are listed for that operating system. However, the principles behind them remain sound for Windows 11: turn off unnecessary personalization, opt out of giving feedback, and don’t share anything you don’t need to.
Here are some best practices for using Windows:
- Disable Cortana. If you must use it, disable its permission to access your data.
- Turn off online speech recognition. (Settings > Privacy > Speech)
- Disable unnecessary information sharing. (Settings > Privacy > General; toggle all options to OFF.)
- Choose to only send basic information to Microsoft for diagnostic purposes. (Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & Feedback)
- Turn off “Getting to know you”. (Settings > Privacy > Inking & typing personalization)
- Disable Windows’ ability to collect your activities and sync that data to the cloud. (Settings > Privacy > Activity history)
Mobile Wallets and Internet Safety
Mobile wallets are, in the most basic sense, smartphone apps that can be used to pay for things. They include Google Wallet and Apple Wallet, as well as payment apps like Venmo, CashApp, and Zelle.
If you choose to use a mobile wallet, follow these best practices to help keep yourself and your finances safe.
- Turn on notifications and regularly monitor transaction history.
- Only transfer money to people or merchants you know and trust.
- Set a maximum transaction limit to prevent large purchases and transfers.
- Do not link your wallet to social media! Twitter is not a bank!
- Check your privacy settings. Some wallets, such as Venmo, have activity sharing enabled by default.
- Whenever possible, require both a PIN and fingerprint/face ID.
- Do not use your mobile wallet on public wi-fi networks.