Breaking up is never easy, and the emotional toll it takes can intensify if an ex-partner turns hostile. Beyond the personal aftermath, safeguarding your digital privacy from potential harassment is crucial. Refuge Tech Safety, an organization dedicated to aiding individuals facing technological abuse, has distilled their insights into a comprehensive Digital Breakup guide. Here, we distil their recommendations into eight crucial steps to help you navigate the challenging landscape of online security after a breakup.
1. Strengthen Your Defenses: Protect Your Vital Accounts
Take control by updating passwords for essential accounts:
- Bank accounts
- Financial platforms (PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, Zelle, etc.)
- Investment portfolios (mutual funds, cryptocurrency, retirement funds, emergency accounts, etc.)
- Personal tech devices (phone, laptop, tablets)
2. Password Managers: Your Online Guardian
Enhance your security with a password manager such as 1Password, Bitwarden, or KeePass. Conduct a security check on your Google account and ensure two-factor authentication is active. For Apple users, change your Apple ID password and enable two-factor authentication. If you own an iPhone with iOS 16 or later, run through the Safety Check steps in Settings > Privacy & Security > Safety Check.
3. Change it Up: Update Your Password Manager Master Password
Even if you believe your ex-partner is unaware of it, change your password manager’s master password. If necessary, consider transitioning to a different password manager for added security.
4. Disappear from the Map: Conceal Your Location
In a world where every device tracks your whereabouts, regain control by:
- Disabling location tracking at the cloud service level (Google Location History)
- Turning off location access for your ex on Apple’s Find My app
- Consider temporarily disabling location services on your phone
5. Email Fortress: Secure Your Email
Fortify all email accounts by updating passwords. Utilize the block sender feature and confirm that your recovery details belong to you, not your ex.
6. Protect Your Digital Social Sphere: Safeguard Your Social Media, Streaming, Gaming, and Fitness Accounts
Before contemplating account deletion post-breakup, take the following measures:
- Secure accounts with a password manager and two-factor authentication
- Verify that account recovery details are yours
- Make your social media accounts private
- Remove followers or friends associated with your ex
- Block unfamiliar accounts
- Log out remotely and check for unauthorized devices
For shared streaming or gaming accounts, consider changing passwords, performing a factory reset, or creating a new account.
7. Retail Privacy: Segregate Shopping and Meal Delivery Accounts
Prevent potential tracking by resetting passwords, logging out of unused devices, and creating new accounts for shared ecommerce sites and delivery apps.
8. Fly Under the Radar: Conceal Your Travel Details
Safeguard your travel history by resetting passwords for ride-hailing, hotel, and flight booking apps. Contemplate switching to different services for an additional layer of security.
Navigating a breakup is a challenge, but securing your digital space is paramount in today’s interconnected world. Following these steps will help you regain control and protect your privacy, ensuring a smoother transition into this new chapter of your life. Refuge Tech Safety’s Digital Breakup guide offers a detailed roadmap for those navigating the complexities of post-breakup digital security. Remember, taking proactive steps today can make all the difference tomorrow.