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5 Online Privacy Facts You Need To Know Right Now

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Online privacy is a matter of hot debate ever since Edward Snowden leaked details about NSA’s secret spying programs. But even with the intense media and public interest about the subject, most people still have little to no idea about how their privacy is getting compromised on the web. This article will list down some online privacy facts so that you can take steps to secure your personal data on the internet.

Fact #1: Your ISP keeps a log of your activities for a really long time

Most online users are probably aware that their ISP keeps a record of their online activities. However, the level of monitoring goes far beyond than most internet users can imagine. Depending on the country where you live, your ISP could not only keep a record of the sites that you visit on a daily basis but also store them for as long as two years (or even more) AFTER you stop using the service.

Fact #2: Your IP address reveals a lot more than you think

IP address is a random digit of numbers assigned to your computer or mobile device by your ISP whenever you connect to the internet. Your IP address can not only reveal your physical location to hackers but it can also be used by search engines and marketing companies to track your search history, browsing habits and online preferences (in order to serve advertisements to you). The scariest part is that an IP address can be used by law enforcement agencies to track your real identity and physical address.

Fact #3: You are sharing your personal information without even knowing it

The rising popularity of social networks and mobile devices has led to a situation where most people are sharing their personal details without even being aware of it. For instance, whenever you post your photos or videos on social sites or someone tags you in a Facebook post or photo, your personal or location information is getting leaked without your knowledge. This information can be used against you by others (for example, potential employers) even if you have nothing to do with the photo or post. What’s worse, many social networking sites and mobile apps share your personal data with third parties (including advertisers) without your knowledge.

Fact #4: Your browsing preferences are automatically saved on your computer/mobile device

Not all the internet users are aware of the fact that their browsing preferences are automatically getting captured through cookies. A cookie is a small text file that gets created on your computer or mobile device whenever you visit or log into your favorite sites. Cookies are primarily used to customize user experience but they can also be used to store session information so that the users don’t have to type their credentials every time they visit a particular site. As you can imagine, this information can be misused against you if a hacker manages to hack into your system or if your laptop or mobile device gets stolen. Although most browsers allow you to disable cookies, it is not a viable solution since you won’t be able to use a majority of websites without enabling the cookies.

Fact #5: Your private data is totally exposed when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network

Nowadays, a lot of users prefer to access the internet through free to use public Wi-Fi hotspots. However, most of them are not aware that accessing the internet through a public Wi-Fi network is akin to broadcasting your personal details through a radio or Television network. Hackers and data snoopers using the same network can easily steal your email login information, bank account details or social account information through rogue programs like Firesheep and Wireshark.

It is clear from the above paragraphs that online privacy cannot be achieved so easily. However, it is possible to secure your personal details to a considerable degree by using privacy solutions like VPNs. A VPN not only protects your data on wireless networks but also prevents ISPs from tracking your browsing activities and hides your IP address from marketers and hackers.

If you are interested in looking for a decent VPN service, here are some of the companies and services that we have found to be decent.

Some Recommended VPN Services Include:

May 2, 2014

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