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Digital monitoring

Today we use the internet and smart devices to access all kinds of information and contact other people. Unfortunately, this means that it is easier to spy on your movements and what you do on the internet. Here you can read about how to secure your tech.

Some of the information is very technical and it is, therefore, good to have a person with technical knowledge to go through it with you.

Keep in mind that if someone is monitoring you, you might be at greater risk if you remove the appliance. It is most important to become aware of it and take appropriate action so you can safely use your devices.

Main points

  • Use private mode on the browser or clear the browser history that you don’t want others to see.
  • Use safe passwords which only you know.
  • Use safe methods for communication, such as an alternative email address, alternative communication apps and another phone that is kept in a safe place in the home or by a friend or neighbor.
  • Don’t share your location on the phone, social media or other apps and ask your friends not to tag you.
  • Make sure that unauthorized parties don’t have access to personal information through financial apps, calendars or other apps.
  • Make sure that email clients are not forwarding your mail.
  • Keep Bluetooth turned off on your phone.

Safe access

  • Use strong and safe passwords for your accesses and devices. Try to use words and numbers which only you can know and is difficult to guess. Don’t use names or dates that others know are important to you.
  • Don’t save passwords on a browser.
  • If you are worried about not being able to remember passwords, you can share them with someone you trust.
  • Use a new password for each access and each device. This prevents anyone from getting into all your accounts with the same password. You can use a password manager like 1Password or LastPass to help you to have a different password for each access while you only need to remember and secure one password.
  • Change security questions in a way that only you know the answers to them.
  • Log in and out every time you sign into a device, email or other media.
  • Always use two-step authentication when possible.

Smartphone

It is easy to monitor your movements and actions with a smartphone. If you know or suspect that your phone has spyware, be careful when you use it. Leave the phone at home or have it in a different room when you have a conversation that is supposed to be confidential.

The phone needs to be examined carefully and the following checked.

  • Add, or change, a lock on to open the phone. This can be a PIN number, fingerprint or face scanner.
  • See which Apple or Google account is registered on the phone and whether it is shared or connected to someone else (like a family account).
  • Check if location sharing is on, like on apps like maps or social media.
  • Clear browser history and check how private/incognito mode in the browser works.
  • Check if there is spyware on the phone. Customers at Hringdu, Síminn and Vodafone can turn to their cellphone companies if they suspect that spyware is on their smartphones. Staff in their shops assist in checking the matter.

Someone could also misuse your car’s navigational system (GPS) or hide a tracker in your bag or in gifts to children. Contact Bjarkarhlíð in Reykjavík if signs of spyware are found, Bjarmahlíð in Akureyri or Sigurhæðir in Selfoss to get help before you remove it.

Computer

If someone has easy access to your computer, they can obtain information and use your accounts. That's why it's best to secure this access really well. It is best to have good virus protection to prevent questionable programs on the computer.

When you use a browser in private mode (private/incognito window) you can hide which websites you have viewed. Be mindful that bookmarks are still saved and files that you have downloaded need to be individually deleted. Be aware that spyware on devices can possibly run in the background and monitor what is viewed in private mode. To be even more secure it is possible to use the internet through a VPN service.

The computer must be examined thoroughly and the following checked:

  • Set or change the password for the computer. 
  • Set up good virus protection.
  • Clear browser history and other information that is saved in a browser (cookies, forms, passwords, cache).
  • Check how private mode in the browser works.
  • Check if spyware is on the computer.
  • VPN can be useful if there is a risk of communication being tapped.

Social Media

Some programs that you use could be sharing sensitive personal information. Social media and email are the first places to check.

Avoid being tagged on social media and ask those you trust to never put anything on the internet that shows where you are.

It is useful to have access to another messaging program for sensitive communication with those you trust, for example, Signal or Telegram if it hasn’t been used before.

Email and calendar

Sensitive information can be found in emails and calendar, and special attention must be directed to secure these programs. It is good to have another email address that you only share with people you trust. Use it preferably only on a computer that you know is safe. It is best to use encrypted emails. Be sure to still use the old email for general things not to cause suspicion.  

It is easy to set up forwarding on email and calendar sharing which can run in the background without being detected. Check your email and calendar settings.

  • Change passwords. Set up two-step authentication if it is available.
  • Check recovery email for forgotten passwords.
  • Check forwarding in email. You might have to check it both in the web interface and in the program, for example in Outlook and Outlook Web Access. For work emails, it is best to get the IT department at work to assist.
  • Check sharing settings in calendars.

Personal information

There are many apps that share information or locations to connected “friends”, like health apps, games like PokemonGo, and shopping list programs such as Google Keep.

Open each program to:

  • Create a new strong password.
  • Check privacy settings. What is being shared with whom? Is location being shared?
  • Limit exposure of when you have the app on (show when you’re active) on all social media (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, TikTok, Telegram, Signal, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Hangout, etc).

Ensure that no one except you has access to your internet bank or financial programs such as Meniga, like by having authority on your behalf or knowing the password for your electronic identity.

Check all programs and websites where shopping is possible (like Ali, eBay, Amazon, Aha and Dominos), change passwords and remove saved card information.

Turn Bluetooth off to prevent that your location can be monitored, files shared, or other devices paired to the phone, such as headphones. 

112 website

This website will ensure your safety throughout your use.

  • On all pages about abuse on this website, there is a black button on the right-hand side where you can close the website quickly if someone unauthorized could see your screen and it is replaced by Google’s website.