Hacking, data thefts and tracking are just some of the common privacy violations that internet users, especially those who are uninformed of its intricacies have to deal with from time to time. People that are cautious about their privacy online take precautions like setting up 2-factor authentications on their email accounts and social media sites, installing the best VPNs and accessing sites like online banking in incognito mode.
Are you giving out your privacy easily or willingly? Here are some of the shocking things you probably didn’t know about your online privacy.
Social Media Networks Use Your Data to Make Money
Yes, social media sites help you to connect and share with friends and family, but they are indeed not non-profit community service providers. Your favorite social media platform is medium that sells high traffic to advertisers who pay good money for target advertising. Your profile and timeline divulge massive amounts of personal data including your location, your age, and gender what you do, what your interests are and other private data which when collected and analyzed can be used to deliver ads and targeted messages.
Big Companies Are Installing Malware on Your Mobile and Computer Devices
In 2015, Lenovo, one of the biggest computer technology companies was under investigation for intentionally installing a malware program called “Superfish” in its devices shipped to the United States. After investigations, it was discovered that the Superfish malware software would gather private data as the users searched the web and later deliver advertisements based on users browsing history. After getting discovered, Lenovo quickly released tools to uninstall the program and discontinued the program altogether.
Aside from the Lenovo Superfish incident, other huge companies like Home Depot, Target, Anthem, and Living Social have had data breach scandals break out to the public.
Your Internet Service Provider Archives Everything You Do Online
You are being watched. Every site you visit, all emails you send, each product your buy and everywhere you log in from is all being recorded and saved by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Your ISP is not only capable of tracking your internet activity, but they can also slow down websites or block them entirely. What makes it even shocking is that all your data like passwords and pins is archived. For example, to “improve your experience” Google will save your browsing history also after you’ve deleted and cleared your browser. Not only that, all our data on Google apps like Gmail, Gtalk, Google Voice, News Alerts, Google Calendar, Google Contacts and location on Google Maps is achieved and retrievable when needed.
What Should You Do To Protect Your Online Privacy
While you’ll always have to give up specific private data as “the price to pay” for enjoying the convenience offered by the online world, you can take back control of most of your private data by installing and using the best VPN services in the market.
How VPNs Work
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a connection that uses the internet (or other public networks) to send and receive encrypted data between remote computers. By using these virtual connections, internet users ensure their privacy and security from any third-party.
The great benefit for businesses is the remote access to information as well as encrypted file sharing meaning employers from all over the world can get quick access to the company’s servers for information sharing and reporting.
VPNs also provide online anonymity since you can hide your IP address or use web proxies to protect your location. This feature makes it very difficult for someone to track you so you can enjoy the freedom to access web application and sites anonymously.
Speaking of which, VPNs allows you to bypass filters and access blocked websites. For example, if your ISP prevents you from accessing Netflix or slows down your internet speeds, the best VPN services allow you to bypass these restrictions.
All in all, as an internet user you need to proactively keep track of how your data is being used online. Most companies are not well prepared when it comes to personal data protection, using VPNs and taking other measures like 2-factor authentication for passwords is the only way you can ensure your security online.
About Glenn Brooks
Glenn Brooks is the founder of WebWize, Inc. WebWize has provided web design, development, hosting, SEO and email services since 1994. Glenn graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Commercial Art and worked in the advertising, marketing, and printing industries for 18 years before starting WebWize.