Fri Jun 01 2018

Online privacy and protection

Technology499 views

Online privacy

We live in a world where phone calls are closely monitored, security cameras record every move, and internet giants offer our personal data to the highest bidder and most relevant authority. The privacy of each and every one of us is at risk. Advertisers, service providers, and governments all around the world are increasingly interested in tracking every single movement we make online. As technology becomes ever encompassing, you should understand how your actions affect what people and companies know about you, as well as know how to protect your privacy. Internet privacy is important to comprehend if you want to protect sensitive data, to maximize your computer privacy, and to determine what privacy means to you. In this article, we’re going to discuss the best practices to increase your online privacy.

Before that, let's take a look at online privacy.

What is Internet Privacy?

Internet privacy also referred to as online privacy, involves the right of personal privacy in regards to the storing, provision to third parties, and display of information relating to you via the internet. The privacy and security level pertains to the number of techniques, factors, and technologies that are used to protect private and sensitive data, preferences, and communications. As e-commerce continues to grow and gain traction online, internet privacy has become extremely important to business owners and managed IT service provider. Online privacy is a serious concern for internet users who are planning to visit social networking sites, make an online purchase, or participate in online games, as they want their privacy to be protected. A victim’s identity may be stolen or fraudulently used at the hands of cybercriminals who simply compromise the victim’s password.

The risks of Internet Privacy

Everyone needs to consider the following when trying to protect their data and information:

  • Malware is an application used to damage offline and online computers users through viruses, Trojans, and spyware.

  • Web bugs are object embedded into an email or web page that checks to see if a user has read a specific email or has looked like a certain website, which is usually unknown to the user.

  • Spyware is an offline application that acquires data without the user’s consent. When the computer is online, the data will be sent to the spyware source.

  • Phishing is an internet hacking activity used to steal secure user data, including credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, security PINs or bank account numbers. This action is executed when someone is disguised as a trustworthy person through some form of electronic communication.

  • Social engineering is the platform where people are tricked into disclosing confidential.

  • Pharming is an internet hacking activity that a hacker uses in the attempt to redirect traffic to from a legitimate website to an entirely different internet address. This is conducting by exploiting a vulnerability on the DNS server or by changing the host’s file on the victim’s computer.

Now, let's find out how you protect your online privacy

OTR Encryption

If you're worried about your personal messages being monitored, Off-the-Record Messaging is an important layer of protection. It offers proper authentication, deniability to third-party observers, and forward secrecy to drastically reduce the risk of being compromised in the future. If you're on a Mac, Adium provides built-in OTR support. As for Windows and Linux, you can use the OTR plugin for Pidgin.

Use Incognito/Private mode

In your browser, this will help prevent websites from sharing information with each other, and show you ads about topics you just discussed with your friends.

Use HTTPS Everywhere

In spite of some infamous security issues, SSL is still extremely important for keeping your web traffic safe. If you want to keep nosy packet sniffers out of your business, your web traffic should always be going through SSL connections. The HTTPS Everywhere browser extension, provided for free by the EFF, forces SSL connections on countless websites. Chrome, Firefox, and Opera users can all take advantage of this wonderful extension, and keep important web traffic private and secure.


Browsing over an HTTPS connection is an important protection for consumers, but how do you know that your SSL implementation is set-up correctly? Certbot is the tool that automatically turns on HTTPS support for your site.

Encrypt when on wifi

Wi-Fi is comparable to speaking out loud, and anyone close enough can eavesdrop and see what you are doing online unless you use a VPN or ensure that you only visit HTTPS encrypted sites.

Use an ad blocker

You may have noticed that many ads have been blocked in the process by an ad blocker. That’s because most ads load from third-party servers that track you across multiple sites. So if you want to go one step and block all ads, you should install an ad blocker. Even, some browsers also come with an ad blocker.

Use multiple browsers and/or browser containers

Using different browsers for different online activities can be a good way of separating portions of your browsing activity. You could, for example, use one browser on your desktop computer for your online banking, say, and a different browser for your social networking or e-commerce activity. Taking this approach further, you could use different mobile devices when you want to access different apps. The point of dividing your browsing across different browsers/devices is to try to make it harder to link all your online activity to you.

Unlinking Accounts

Many websites now are giving the option to link accounts. Google, for example, allows you to link all your different Gmail accounts in a browser. Many sites are now giving you the option to use your Google login to access their site. While convenient, linking accounts can create more risk. If one of your accounts is compromised, all the linked accounts will also automatically be at risk. So unlinking accounts is a good way to help protect information.

Use stronger passwords

Your username and password combinations remain critically important for maintaining security online. The problem is that with every website needing a password, people tend to get predictable or lazy by creating simple passwords or using the same passwords over and over again on different websites. Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters.

Better Browsing

You should delete cookies regularly. In Chrome, for example, go to the Chrome menu and then click Clear Browsing Data. You should also log out of social media websites, and even your other accounts when not using them and don’t keep them open in tabs on your browser.

Tor Browser

If anonymous browsing is what you're after, the Tor Browser is what you need. It uses a vast network of computers to route your Web traffic through a number of encrypted layers to obscure its origin. Tor is a vital tool for political dissidents and whistleblowers to anonymously share information, and you can just as easily use it to help protect your privacy. This package has everything you need to use Tor successfully, but you'll also need to change your web surfing behavior to retain as much anonymity as possible.



While communications and data need firm protections online, legislation and the legal framework have been slow to respond to the pace of technological change. Meanwhile, governments have rolled out extensive surveillance operations and online privacy is still under threat from large corporations and rouge cybercriminals. Tight encryption and better online security measures seem to be the best option for individuals and businesses concerned about their data privacy.

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