5 Great Free Apps For Minimizing Your Online Presence


Doug Aamoth

September 10, 2015

There’s nothing wrong with having a high profile on the web, but too much of a good thing can lead to plenty of bad things. These tools can help you get stuff done without revealing too much to hackers, marketers, and other assorted snoops.

1. See What’s Out There About You Already

Have I Been Pwned? (Web) should be a routine stop each time there’s a nasty, news-making data breach. Simply enter your commonly used email addresses and usernames to see if a hack has exposed your data. You’ll get info about what’s been leaked— addresses, passwords, financial info, and more—so you can change your credentials elsewhere. (Being a smart web citizen, you do use different usernames and passwords at every single site, right? Right?!) Note that there’s a nice collection of mobile apps that use the service’s API.

2. Protect Your Email Address

Stop trading your email address for free stuff! MailDrop (Web) lets you create a one-time address that disappears after you’re done with it, perfect for those quick-hit deals, downloads, and promotions. There’s no signup or passwords involved—by MailDrop’s admission, it should not be used for sensitive email—and you can store up to 10 messages, should you need to engage in a bit of back and forth with your recipient. Leave your temporary mailbox untouched for 24 hours, and it’ll vanish forever.

Bonus App!

If you want to prepare ahead for day you’re no longer among the living—or have just decided to flee the Internet—-Dead Man’s Switch (Web) lets you leave people one final email, but won’t send it out as long as you keep checking in. You’ll get reminders at 15 and 30 days, but if you don’t check in for 60 days, your message will get sent out.

3. Shut Down Old Accounts

If you’re like most of us, you’ve been on the Internet long enough to have created a zillion accounts you don’t use anymore. JustDelete.me (Web) provides direct links to the cancellation pages of an almost endless list of popular services, categorizing which ones are easy, medium, hard, and impossible to shut down. For services that are more difficult to quit, JustDelete.me often offers an explanation about what you’ll need to do—sometimes it’s a phone call; other times, your account or content will never truly be erased. The site also features a handy fake-identity generator you can use with throwaway account signups.

4. Send Self-Destructing Notes

Privnote (Web) helps you send messages electronically without leaving a paper trail. Simply write a note in the site’s Post-it-like interface and you’ll be provided with a unique URL. Send the URL to your recipient via email, text message, or any other method, and once someone clicks the link, that person will have access to the note but the link and its message will get killed off for anyone who tries to access it in the future. Here’s the lowdown on how the messages are processed, if you’re curious.

5. Remove Unnecessary Programs

Chances are, your computer’s loaded up with a bunch of stuff you don’t need. Should I Remove It? (Windows) analyzes your installed programs for adware, bloatware, junkware, and other undesirables, presenting you with a list of the most egregious offenders so you can banish them from your PC. You’ll save hard drive space and, depending on the program, potentially protect your personal information as well.

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This article was written by Doug Aamoth from Fast Company and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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