Security and privacy: How to secure your data and choose to be private when you want

A new app protects your personal information from unscrupulous trackers.
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This is paid content. It was written and produced by Studio 61 of CBS Interactive’s marketing unit in collaboration with the sponsor.

Consumers used to be taught that the biggest risks to their online activities were data loss and malware. This gave rise to the security software industry, focused on backups, disaster recovery, and anti-malware.

Illustration of a man sitting while being observed from the window and bushes

All this is still a risk for consumers, but the danger pales in comparison to the dangers inherent in online privacy violation. Think of security as protecting your data while it's in your control, while privacy is protecting what they do with your data and your identity. Security software isn't going to help when web sites track your activities and sell your information to other entities.

It's time for a new class of product, one that focuses on protecting your privacy everywhere you go online. A new company, FigLeaf, aims to do just that.

To understand your current online privacy health, you first need to know whether your personal information has already been stolen. FigLeaf looks into known data sets of identities exposed due to data breaches and helps you understand where you're at risk with your personal information. Once you know where your data has been exposed, you can act to mitigate the loss.

FigLeaf believes that sharing your personal details should be your choice, and that you should be able to choose on a site-by-site basis. The company lets you create single-use email addresses so that when you sign up for new services, your personal information is tokenized, not shared.

Whenever you visit a site, order a product, or even like a Facebook post, your actions are being watched, recorded, and often sold. With FigLeaf, you can put a stop to these digital snoops. FigLeaf eliminates trackers, so you'll leave far fewer online footprints, helping you take back your privacy from the data merchants.

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Ordering something online is always risky. Just because your browser says the page you're using is encrypted doesn't mean anything when the biggest companies (like Equifax, TicketMaster, T-Mobile, and even Amazon and Google) have flawed defenses. With FigLeaf, you can pay with a virtual credit card, so when your favorite vendors may  be breached, your personal payment data will remain safe.

To make sure you're protected while using Wi-Fi, FigLeaf offers a VPN-like service that encrypts all your connection data, so the chances of it being intercepted in motion are substantially reduced.

FigLeaf also operates in a zero-knowledge environment. Your data is encrypted on your devices with both a key that FigLeaf knows and a key that only you have access to. The data that arrives on FigLeaf servers is encrypted, even from them. This means your information is safe even if FigLeaf is hacked.

The bottom line is simple. You can't just protect your data. You need to be able to control what personal information you share and with whom. Visit FigLeaf and see how you can put a fig leaf over your private data today.