PROTECTING PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET
Definition Of Internet Privacy:
Internet privacy is the privacy and security level of personal data published via the Internet. It is also known as online privacy which is a subset of data privacy and fundamental of human right. Internet privacy is basically about personal privacy you are entitled to when you display,store or provide information regarding youself on the Internet.
Who Is Watching And Tracking You?
Each time you go online like emailing,Facebook updates,visiting forums or checking your bank statement,your activities can be monitored and spied on by the following people :
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER (ISP)
Each time you use the Internet,your activities are logged by your Internet Service Provider. Your ISP assigns an IP address to your device each time you connect to the Internet. From your IP address, your ISP knows everything you do online,including the browser you use,the websites you visit, the emails you send and receive, the file you download and etc. And since your ISP knows your IP address,they can also identify your name and location.
ADVERTISERS AND CORPORATIONS
Your personal information and online browsing behavior data are very valuable to advertisers and corporations. These data will be sell or trade without your consent, then help advertisers determine which products or services to promote to you and which ads to show to you.If this bothers you, then you should take proper precautions not to share and disclose your personal information and web browsing activities.
HACKERS AND CYBER CRIMINALS
Hackers and cyber criminals make a living out of stealing people’s private and financial information. They use a variety of tools and methods available to collect your private information little by little.Over time, they might just have enough information about you to steal your identity. Once that happens, it becomes very easy for them to use your identity to transfer money from your bank account to their accounts, purchase expensive items online, apply for credit cards in your name, file fake tax returns or perpetrate other crimes.One of the easiest ways for cyber criminals to steal your private information is by sniffing your network traffic at public places that offer free WiFi connections such as coffee shops, airports, and hotels.Did you know that most WiFi connections are not secure? Every time you connect to the Internet via unsecured public WiFi, hackers can use freely available software to sniff your web traffic and steal your passwords, credit card numbers, bank account information, or any other sensitive data. And recent research has shown that even your password-protected home WiFi network is highly vulnerable to hackers. It’s scary!
Your employer wants you to be productive at work and can monitor your online activities to make sure you don’t waste too much time on social media sites, dating sites, or doing other personal activities.
The government may be spying on you. They also can demand your private information from companies such as Google, Facebook, and your ISP. The reports from Google showed how often they get national security letters from the government requesting information about people.
Internet Privacy Risks :
When you browse the Internet, you may have noticed those pesky ads following you where you go that are based on your earlier web searches or visits to websites. Well, that is because your movements are tracked by websites, advertisers and etc.Cookie profiling and other techniques are used to track your overall activities online and create a detailed profile of your browsing habits. Some people may not mind having relevant ads being served up to them, but for others this is a serious invasion of privacy.
Some governments spy on their citizens online to supposedly assist law enforcement agencies. Take, for instance, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act that authorizes mass surveillance and allows the government to legally monitor the Internet usage of its citizens. Internet companies (ISPs), Telcos, as well as other communication service providers are required to retain customers’ Internet connection records for a year, which can be obtained by government authorities and used in investigations even if you are not related to them in any way.
Cybercriminals use malware, spyware, and phishing techniques to break into your online accounts or device and steal your personal information to engage in activities like identity theft. The victims of course end up losing most or all of their hard earned money, just because they didn’t exercise caution when it comes to opening attachments, instant messages, or emails from unknown sources.
Phishing: An Internet hacking activity used to steal secure user data, including username, password, bank account number, security PIN or credit card number.
Pharming: An Internet hacking activity used to redirect a legitimate website visitor to a different IP address.
Spyware: An offline application that obtains data without the user’s consent. When the computer is online, previously acquired data is sent to the spyware source.
Malware: An application used to illegally damage online and offline computer users through Trojans, viruses and spyware.
Ways to Protect Your Privacy and Security on the Internet :
INSTALL THE LATEST ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE ON YOUR DEVICES
An antivirus software is a must-have utility to protect your computer from viruses, spyware, trojans, and worms. These malicious programs are designed to invade your privacy and steal your personal data. As such, it’s critical for you to protect your devices with the latest antivirus programs.There are plenty of free as well as paid versions available. Just be sure to use good antivirus programs from trusted companies. Watch out for fake antivirus programs that use pop-up messages to tell you that your computer is compromised. According to HYPERLINK "http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388652,00.asp" PCMag.com’s tests, AVG and Ad-Aware’s free anti-virus programs scored the highest in their malware cleanup and malware blocking tests. For paid solutions, Webroot, Norton, and Kaspersky’s anti-virus products have the highest ratings.Keep in mind that antivirus soware only protects your device, not your internet connection.
USE A PERSONAL VPN (VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK):
While antivirus programs do a good job of protecting your computer, it doesn’t secure your browsing session and your Internet communications. A HYPERLINK "https://www.hotspotshield.com/vpn/" VPN is a perfect complement to an antivirus program.VPN services such as the HYPERLINK "https://www.hotspotshield.com/" Hotspot Shield VPN protects your privacy online and secure your web sessions by creating a secure “tunnel” on the Internet between the VPN server and your device.Thus, any information transmitted is encrypted, protecting your private and sensitive information such as your passwords, credit card information, and banking information from eavesdroppers and hackers.VPN technology also enables you to hide your IP address by replacing your IP address with the VPN server’s IP address.So, the sites that you visit only see the IP address of the VPN server, not yours. This enables you to remain HYPERLINK ;https://www.hotspotshield.com/benefits/anonymous-web-surfing/; anonymous online, thereby preventing your Internet Service Provider and the government from tracking your web browsing activities or anything you do on the Internet. If you are traveling or just wanting to hang out at the local Starbucks and want to use free WiFi to connect to the Internet, a VPN is a must have utility to protect your privacy and prevent hackers and snoopers from stealing your personal information.In addition to protecting your privacy and securing your web sessions, another benefit of a VPN that may be useful for some people is its ability to bypass firewalls and filters to enable you to HYPERLINK ;https://www.hotspotshield.com/resources/unblock-websites/; unblock any websites and get unrestricted access to your favorite content from anywhere.This feature is very useful for travelers. Due to censorship and rights agreements, popular websites and services such as YouTube, Twitter, Hulu, Netflix, Gmail, Skype, and Pandora are restricted in certain countries. But with a VPN, you can have unrestricted access to any content you want without censorship and without anyone tracking your every moves on the Internet.
A VPN is easy to use and setup. If you are looking for a reliable privacy protection solution that also provides secure web connections, then a VPN is a must have application for all your computers and mobile devices.
MAKE SURE SHOPPING SITES ARE SECURE
If you are doing any online transactions, make sure the site uses SSL, which is a security protocol that encrypts all your data. You can tell if a site is using SSL by the presence of the “HTTPS” at the beginning of the website address and the padlock icon.
USE STRONG PASSWORDS
Most people tend to use their names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers or phone numbers to create passwords. The most common, believe it or not, is to use the word “password.” This is a big mistake as it makes it easier for hackers to crack your account.If you have too many passwords to remember, you may want to use a password manager like Lastpass (it’s a free browser plug-in) to help you securely manage all your passwords. With Lastpass, you only have to remember one password. That one password is all you need to enable you to log you in to any site with your saved login credentials. There are also several popular password lockers for your mobile device, which you can have with you at all times.
DELETE OR CLEAR THE TRACKING COOKIES
Tracking cookies are small pieces of code that websites attach to your computer to store information about your online activities.Information about you can then be sold to companies around the world without your consent.If you are concerned about what information about you is collected and how it is used, you should block or remove unwanted cookies on your browsers on a regular basis.
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